Thorne signs off with critics his way
May 29, 2008

After years of soaking up sniping from his critics, former All Blacks rugby captain Reuben Thorne has finally bitten back.

Few players in the professional game in New Zealand have been the subject of such conjecture as the quietly-spoken Thorne, who chose the eve of his final first class match in this country to deliver a retort.

It wasn't a bitter outburst from the 33-year-old today, just a reasoned response to those who have repeatedly criticised his All Blacks selection at various stages of his career, pointing mostly to a perceived lack of athleticism.

"When I look at my career and the things that I have achieved, it's not too bad," Thorne said.

"I'm pretty happy with six Super rugby titles, a number of NPCs , Ranfurly Shield, 50 test caps, All Blacks captain, all those things.

"If people want to criticise that, that's their business.

"I'm pretty happy with the way things have gone... one day I'll look back on it with a lot of pride."

Should the Crusaders beat the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super 14 final on Saturday, Japan-bound Thorne can once again expect to be the subject of the team song that has rung out after previous final triumphs.

It simply chants his name multiple times.

Thorne, who starts on the reserve bench, wouldn't rule out the appearance of a tear or two during the post-game washup and when sharing a dressing room beer.

"They may well do, not just because I'm leaving," he said, pointing to departing coach Robbie Deans and outside back Caleb Ralph."

Thorne today completed his final training run after 12 years at the franchise and reflected on what made it so hard to leave.

"It's been a great place to play rugby and to live," he said.

"I've had great people around me and the success that we've had has been a big part of that. It's just been fun, you know.

"It's been enjoyable, I've loved every minute of it.

"We've become really good friends over the years. People have come and gone but we've all kept in touch and it's become pretty tight-knit."

Thorne wouldn't rule out a return to New Zealand in a coaching capacity.

"I'd like to help out with that side of things in Japan, with the team at Yamaha," he said.

"If I enjoy it, who knows? Maybe it would lead onto something more solid."

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.