VIDEO: Thorn continues to make his mark on Reds
REACTION: Former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn is making his mark on the Reds, highlighted by their gritty 27-22 win over South Africa's table-topping Lions in Brisbane on Saturday.
The victory means the Reds have already won four games - the same number as in their entire abject 2017 season - with two games still to come against the winless Sunwolves.
Thorn, who boldly dropped Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper from his 2018 squad, has encouraged the development of young pivot Hamish Stewart, who looms as the Reds' first-choice playmaker next year with Jono Lance heading to English club Worcester.
The 20-year-old's composure, ability to break a tackle and determined defence made a telling difference for the Reds against the Lions.
"You saw some really good stuff but you also saw some stuff where it was a young five-eighth [flyhalf] learning his trade," Thorn told reporters after the match.
"He's pretty ambitious and isn't that what it's about?
"He's just paying his dues at the moment and Jono has been doing a good job there.
"If Jono is fit he will still be my first choice but in saying that, you want Hamish to keep pushing.
"He got that opportunity today and a lot of positives came out of it."
Consistency throughout the 80-minutes is still an area of concern for Thorn.
"We're not an 80-minute team yet but it was an outstanding first half against last year's finalists and there was a lot of good stuff in the second period too,” Thorn said.
"We continue to be a work in progress. We had nine guys in the side that are 21 or under tonight. We're bringing the youth through and they’ll learn a lot from that experience."
Source: rugby.com.au & AFP