Slipper: Thorn impact immense

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Queensland Reds captain James Slipper couldn't be more impressed with the impact Brad Thorn has made over the summer.

In his first preseason as contact coach, it should come as no surprise that Thorn has bought in on coach Nick Stiles' old school attitude.

The pair have preached the importance of being physically ready for the rigours of a Super Rugby season and in the Reds' first and only trial against the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday it was easy to see why.

James Slipper has been impressed with the impact Brad Thorn has made on his team. Photo: WalmsleyThe elite Reds teams of this decade thrived on the defensive side of the ball - as successful teams do in any sport - and with the exception of a soft try to Sefa Naivalu, the rejuvenated Reds laid several hits which could be heard at the back of Ballymore's famous McLean Stand.

"He (Thorn) has had a huge impact - just his mentality around preparation and working hard in the gym to make your body as prepared as possible," Slipper told

"That mindset, for the younger players, has been great.

"Even for the more experienced players, I had Stephen Moore come up to me the other day and say how great it has been to have Thorny around and how much he had put a focus on getting physically right for the season.
Stephen Moore has enjoyed working under the watchful eye of Brad Thorn. Photo: Walmsley"It’s been great - all the boys have bought into it and Thorny has done a great job - he really enjoys it and taps into our contact work and our physicality on the field so that will lift for sure over the next week or so."

Speaking to the importance of being right physically, Slipper has beefed up with 4kg of lean muscle in his quest to stay injury free this season.

"For me, it’s also about my strength, that was the biggest thing - I’ve had a few injuries and a few surgeries over the last couple of years so to go back and start again in the gym was something Stilesy wanted from me and it’s something that I wanted to do as well," he said.James Slipper will lead the Reds for the third straight season. Photo: Walmsley"I’ve put on about three to four kilos, I was sitting at about 110kg at one stage last year and it was just too light as a front rower.

"As an old bloke I’ve got to work harder to put on weight, it doesn’t come as naturally anymore.

"You look at guys like Taniela who seems to be able to look at food and put on muscle but us older fellas have to work hard."