herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Thorn: I am here to serve Leinster

Kiwi makes instant impact in 'A' debut rout of Connacht

ALL BLACK World Cup winner Brad Thorn explained his mission at Leinster in five short words: "I am here to serve."

Thorn made his first appearance in a Leinster jersey in a 50-0 romp against Connacht in an 'A' Interprovincial match at Anglesea Road yesterday.

"(It) was just about getting a hit out. In 40 minutes, I got to hit a few rucks, make a few rusty tackles, a bit of scrummaging, a bit of lineout work. I got what I wanted out of it," he said.

The 37-year old certainly looked in tremendous shape, was talkative on the field and took a firm grip of the Leinster scrum in the first-half, clearly calling for the pack to "keep it going" for what was a pushover try for number eight Leo Auva'a.

"I said the other day that the World Cup final seems like half a lifetime ago. I have had four months in Japan, which was a great experience," added Thorn. "Rugby is rugby. The role of the tighthead lock doesn't change too much no matter where you go. It is the tight stuff. It isn't too flashy. I am not really a guy who scores 50m tries.

"I came to help out. I have goals that I want to achieve. I haven't played since February 4. I would love to have a run against Ospreys," he asserted, ahead of Leinster's next PRO12 match against the Welsh club on Friday week.

"My philosophy is I am here to serve in any way I can."

This game also marked the return of outhalf Matt Berquist after a lengthy injury lay-off, and he made an immediate impact when his telling pass six minutes in paved the way for centre Brendan Macken to drive over underneath the posts.

The former Auckland star coolly slotted over the subsequent conversion.

Connacht captain Jack Carty had an excellent opportunity to reduce his side's deficit with a 25m penalty after 16 minutes, but his kick drifted past the posts.

The Westerners suffered a setback seven minutes later when prop Rodney Ah You was sinbinned for a high tackle on John Cooney and Leinster took full advantage of his absence by securing their second try of the afternoon through Old Belvedere's Auva'a, converted once again by Berquist.

Another Auva'a try would follow three minutes before the break after good work by Andrew Boyle, and Leinster were full value for their 19-0 lead at half-time.

The Blues re-emerged without Thorn, but this didn't stop them adding to their advantage via an individual try by Macken after 45 minutes. Berquist again added the extras.

The No10 followed up with a routine penalty seven minutes later, before being replaced almost immediately by Clontarf's Noel Reid, who added a two-pointer of his own with 63 minutes gone after left-wing Darren Hudson had crossed the whitewash.

Further tries would follow through flanker Dominic Ryan and Macken, who sealed his hat-trick. Both were converted by Reid as Leinster completed a landslide win.

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