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Big Man, Big Heart, Big Success

It has recently been announced that New Zealand’s World Cup-winning lock turned Leicester captain Brad Thorn is set to finally retire at the end of the English season.

I have long admired Thorn’s success in the various codes and clubs he has played at and there are some excellent life lessons he can teach.

When I think of Brad Thorn I think of a disciplined, hardworking, understated, team man who has repeatedly demonstrated what he is capable of “on the field” and never carried on “like a jerk” off it.

Lesson 1: Driven to succeed
Way back in 1994, Thorn was the Brisbane Broncos’ rookie of the year and then proceeded to win premierships with the Broncos in 1997, 1998 and 2000.

Lesson 2: Bold
It was at this point that Thorn made the switch to rugby, a move that certainly back then was not as common as it is today.

Lesson 3: Humble
After playing 92 games with the Crusaders he was offered his first All Black jersey. Incredibly he humbly turned it down because he felt he was not ready yet.

Lesson 4: Team Comes First…….Always
He returned to rugby league in 2006 with the Broncos and was eventually named in the 20 greatest Broncos of all time.
At this time he played 3 more State of Origin games for Queensland taking his tally to 11.

Lesson 5: Reward Comes To Those Who Put In Effort And Are Patient
In 2008 he crossed again back to rugby union and went on to win 50 caps for the All Blacks and was a key member of the winning New Zealand World Cup team in 2011.

Lesson 6:Success Breeds Success
His rugby career also saw him win several Tri-Nations titles with New Zealand, the 2008 Super Rugby title with the Crusaders and the 2012 European Cup crown with Irish province Leinster.

Lesson 7:Help Others
This year he aims to finish his career by helping English club Leicester win the Premiership.

Lesson 8:50% Or More Of Success Is A Head Case. Have The Right Attitude
At 40 years of age Thorn insists his desire for silverware is as strong as ever and is in no way altered by his impending retirement.
In Thorn’s own words…”It’s more of the same, 20 years of the same, I want to win the trophy every year because I am just so hungry to win stuff – I love it.”

Lesson 9:Love What You Do
Congratulations Brad Thorn on an awesome football career spanning more than 20 years at the highest level.

Stuart Freeman is an Executive Recruitment Consultant in the Insurance space, a blogger, an owner of a high end wine business, and a dad of 3 daughters. He can be contacted directly on or on twitter @StuartFreemanKR

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