Brad Thorn is making a comeback.
Yes, you read that correctly. The legendary All-Black, who won a World Cup, Super Rugby title and Heineken Cup across the span of an incredible 21-year career (and made this tackle in a charity rugby match), retired in May of last year after playing rugby league for ten years-representing Australia in the code-before switching to union to represent New Zealand fifty-nine times.
Thorn has spent the year coaching the Queensland Reds under-20s, and in April of this year was announced as the assistant coach of the Reds senior team, who play in the Southern Hemisphere's 'Super Rugby' competition.
Now, though, reports are emerging that Thorn will be named in the Queensland Country squad ahead of the 2016/17 season. Country are a feeder club for the Reds that compete in the Australia's National Rugby Championship, but it will be intriguing to see how Thorn performs there-and, if he succeeds, whether he will make the step up to Super Rugby. Clearly, his legendary workrate has reaped benefits for the now 41-year old, who did not exactly sound enthusiastic about retiring shortly before he made the decision:
The hard part about discussing the 'R Word' is that my body is not broken. I am really enjoying my rugby and feel like I am really contributing. So it's not easy. When your body is broken and you are not performing, it must be easier.
Thorn, who won his Heineken Cup alongside Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Heaslip et al at Leinster in 2012, suffered what could have been a career-ending injury in 2014, but he has recovered sufficiently to believe there is still enough left in the tank for one last roll of the dice, if even at a lower level than he previously played.
Maybe now we'll see Drico taking inspiration and lining out in the All-Ireland League for UCD, jinking past young Leinster academy buckos and cackling wildly.
Meanwhile, here's a pretty cool tribute to Thorn from a couple of years ago, including a wince-inducing try he scored against Ireland in 2008 at Croke Park.