Thorn unimpressed by reports of Rodda return to Australia

·2-min read
New Zealand All Blacks' Brad Thorn reacts after they beat France to win the Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park in Auckland

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn has described as "disappointing" reports that Wallabies forward Izack Rodda is on his way back to Australia less than a year after walking out on the club.

Rodda left the Reds and signed a lucrative contract with French club Lyon after refusing to take a short-term pay cut as the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic started to have an impact on the game's finances in Australia.

The 24-year-old lock has been linked with a move back to Australia after his Lyon contract runs out in June, which would make him eligible to resume a test career that has earned him 25 caps.

"That was disappointing when it happened and disappointing to hear that as well," Thorn told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.

"You don't dislike that person, but the whole game suffered here, the players were on 40% of their wages and it was hard yakka.

"A lot of people persevered, a lot of people made sacrifices and, with our values here, (Rodda coming back) doesn't align with that."

Thorn said it looked like a case of "having your cake and eat it" for Rodda and suggested there was enough talent still in Australia to stock the second row of the Wallabies pack.

"I guess you can always bring back talent, but there's talent here, and they're invested here," he added.

The Reds face the reigning champion ACT Brumbies on Saturday in a re-run of last year's Super Rugby AU final.

Thorn has named an explosive backline with Hunter Paisami and Jordan Petaia paired in the centres outside flyhalf James O'Connor and rugby league convert Suliasi Vunivalu and Filipo Daugunu on the wings.

The former All Blacks lock, however, scoffed at suggestions that it might be among the strongest backlines he has worked with.

"I've been in some pretty good sides," he laughed. "I could go Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith so I wouldn’t get too carried away with that.

"There's no doubt there’s some talent there but it's the combinations. If you look at Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith, they built those combinations over 50 tests, 100 tests. OK, you can have names on a piece of paper but it’s how they work together."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)