Thorn: My Reds are not a dirty side

BRAD Thorn might have pushed the boundaries as a player, but he says that's not the way he instructs his Reds to play Super Rugby.

Thorn said he felt no need to broach a perceived discipline problem with his team after they were briefly reduced to 13 men in their season opening defeat to the Rebels.

Captain Scott Higginbotham was shown a red card and lock Lukhan Tui a yellow, with both players suspended for three weeks by the SANZAAR judiciary.

Queensland were constantly hampered last season by on-field shortages, collecting 13 yellows and one send-off during their 2017 campaign under Nick Stiles.

But Thorn said that trend would end under his reign, suggesting his reputation as a player had led to an incorrect perception of his coaching style.

Thorn celebrates winning the 2011 World Cup with New Zealand.
Thorn celebrates winning the 2011 World Cup with New Zealand.

"I like positive footy," Thorn said on Wednesday.

"Yes, I was a tighthead lock and, yeah, I did play on the edge probably often.

"(But) if you've watched the teams I've coached, in the (Queensland under-20s) and the NRC, I coach positive footy, I feel, if you've seen it.

"I like a physical contest as well, but in the right way.

"I just want to play proactive, positive footy within the boundaries of the game and compete hard.

"The last couple of years, there have been a lot of cards.

"I'd like to think there will be less this year."

Scott Higginbotham is shown red against the Rebels.
Scott Higginbotham is shown red against the Rebels.
Despite losing two players, the Reds conceded only eight penalties against the Rebels - one of the lowest tallies last round in the competition.

Thorn admitted Tui paid the penalty for an "interesting tackle choice" as he lifted Will Genia off the ground.

He said players had to be more accurate with their techniques given SANZAAR's increasingly tough stance on head-related injuries.

But he said he didn't want his players to change anything about their approach to physicality for Friday's home clash with the Brumbies.

"You've just got to be smart around how you do that," he said.

"You want to bring that physicality, it's a physical, contact sport but you (must ensure you're) doing that in the right way."