Hansen impressed with Thorne

All Black assistant coach Steve Hansen admitted on Tuesday that he had been wrong about Reuben Thorne’s abilities as a lock.

Hansen, who has openly disregarded Thorne as a second-rower in the past, said that he was particularly impressed with Thorne’s performance against Scotland in the second row on Sunday.

“He came through the game really well and that’s a huge credit to him and the medical staff and trainers,” Hansen told Stuff.co.nz .
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“And on that one I’m happy I was wrong,” added the All Black coach.

What impressed Hansen the most was that the utility forward had been out of rugby for a lengthy period.

As a result Hansen had his reservations about Thorne playing 80 minutes of rugby straight away.

“He has not played for a long time and to come out and play 80 minutes at the quality he did is outstanding.”

Thorne impressed Graham Henry’s right-hand man both in the scrums and in the line-out’s on Sunday.

“He certainly is a strong character and a quality rugby player and he has always been able to scrum.

“His line-out work yesterday was good. So he ticked the box. It’s nice to be proved wrong.”

The All Blacks have been through some trying times in the lock department since the World Cup started with Chris Jack and Ali Williams being forced to play the full 80 minutes against Italy and Portugal, which in itself was an element of risk.

However, signs were that things would finally come together for the forwards coach when Thorne made his return last week.

What will also be positive news is that Keith Robinson could be back in the fray very soon, after a calf injury kept him out for the first three World Cup games.

It is not yet clear whether he will be fit to start against Romania on Saturday though.

“Keith Robinson has made really good progress and if we can get him through this early part of the week with his training without any mishaps he should be available at the end of the week,” said a relieved Hansen.

 

365 Digital

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