New Zealand lock Brad Thorn insists that Sunday’s World Cup final showdown against France will be his final game in the famous black shirt, win or lose.
Thorn has earned 58 caps during his eight year career with the All Blacks, and holds the record for being the oldest person to represent New Zealand at the World Cup at the age of 36.
The Rugby League convert who returned to union have gone back to his roots between the 2003 and 2007 tournaments, is retiring to take up a post coaching in Japan and described his time with the All Black as “special”.
“To me this is pretty special,” said Thorn. “Whatever happens, this will be my last game in the black jersey. It’s a really good place for me to be out there.”
The 36-year-old put in a physical performance against Australia to help his side gain the upper hand in the battle of the forwards, and let his emotions at reaching the final show when he gestured towards the home crowd to cheer the side on.
“When I was excited on Sunday night, we’d just pushed them off the ball,” he commented.
“It doesn’t just happen, a lot goes on in there and maybe it might take a lock to understand but when you come out of that you feel you had a real big effort there. It doesn’t happen easily and it’s a really good moment.”
The All Blacks tight five were all on top form as Australia, who had never previously been beaten by New Zealand at the World Cup, were turned over 20-6 at Eden Park, a ground where the Wallabies haven’t tasted success in 26 years.
Thanks to Thorn and his fellow front-rowers, they were able to repeatedly get the shove on Australia, and the veteran lock compared the sensation of going up against some of the world’s finest scrummagers to attempting a maximum weight, once only squat.
“It’s not much fun to do a max squat, it’s intimidating,” he explained.
“When you do it you have to be hyped up and when you do the squat you feel pumped up.
“Scrummaging is like that. When it’s their (put-in) you have to wait for the ball to come in. Can’t just get momentum. As a unit you have to work together, especially the tight five, so to go up against another international pack and (get a tighthead). … In the 70th minute of a test with an opportunity to go to a World Cup final, it was a pretty cool time in my opinion.”
New Zealand are now the clear sports betting favourites to win the World Cup for the first time in 24 years against a France side that scraped past Wales in the semi-final by just one point despite their opponents having their captain red-carded after just fourteen minutes.