As speculation continues around Brad Thorn’s coaching future at Queensland Reds, three Australian rugby legends have said sacking him midway through the Super Rugby Pacific season will do more harm than good.
The Reds currently sit eighth on the ladder, in what’s been a dismal season so far for all Australian sides apart from the third-placed Brumbies.
Despite the disappointment, James Horwill, Stephen Hoiles and Morgan Turinui all agree Thorn deserves to see out the season.
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“There’s a lot of talk around Brad Thorn about his future, my personal opinion is they should keep him to the end of the season and then make a decision based off the fact he’s off contract,” Horwill said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.
Queensland come into Friday’s game against Moana Pasifika in Samoa with horrible form, losing its last three matches.
Thorn has swung the axe based off those defeats, with Filipo Daugunu, Peni Ravai and Phransis Sula-Siaosi all dropped while Liam Wright, Isaac Henry and Seru Uru are injured. Angus Blyth is also missing through suspension.
James O’Connor will return to the starting side at inside centre while flanker Jake Upfield, winger Suliasi Vunivalu, locks Connor Vest and Ryan Smith and props Sef Fa’agase and Zane Nonggorr make up the other seven changes.
While Moana Pasifika sit last in the competition, the chance to play in front of its home fans will present another challenge for Thorn and his players, according to Turinui.
“How much are they going ‘I wish this was in Brisbane?’,” he said.
“This is a different kettle of fish, this is a historic weekend for Moana Pasifika as a group, as a team and for their individuals. It’s the worst possible place they could be going to play.”
The former Wallaby added any changes to the coaching setup would send the Reds into disarray.
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“I understand if (Reds assistant coach) Mick Heenan is definitely going to be the next coach whether they would be considering chucking him straight in, I think it’s unfair to everyone involved, it doesn’t work,” he said.
“And also they probably need some time to sit back and reassess where they’re at to find the best possible candidate at the end of the season.”
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Hoiles agreed the time is not right for a Reds upheaval and believes Thorn should ride out the rest of the season.
“I’m in agreeance, I don’t think a mid-season change is going to do anything,” he said.
“If anything it’s going to be putting Mick Heenan under more pressure to apply for a job next year.
“This season lies solely responsible with Brad Thorn, he was head coach, he set the program, he’s got to see the season out.
“There’s still a fair bit of footy to be played, remember it’s the top eight out of 12, they’re not out of contention for finals at the moment.”
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