Thorn to try his Irish luck

by staff

Former All Blacks and Crusaders lock Brad Thorn has signed a three-month contract with European champions Leinster.

Thorn joins Leinster on temporary loan from Japanese club Fukuoka Sanix Blues, where he has been playing since helping the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup in October last year.

The former Brisbane Broncos rugby league star provides cover at lock for Leinster, after they lost Leo Cullen to injury and Steven Sykes returned to South Africa.

Coach Joe Schmidt, former assistant coach of the Super Rugby side the Blues, says Thorn's experience will supplement Damian Browne, Devin Toner and Mark Flanagan in the demanding months ahead as Leinster look to defend their title.

"Obviously Brad won't have a lot of time to find his feet, but I know the quality he brings and how keen he is to make a contribution both on and off the field," Schmidt said.

Thorn joins an array of New Zealanders at Leinster, including Schmidt, former Crusaders teammates Greg Feek and Matt Berquist, and forwards coach Jono Gibbes, a former Chiefs captain.

Thorn says he's looking forward to the challenges at Leinster.

"They're very successful, they have high standards and it's pretty exciting to be part of it."