Brad Thorn eyes better NZ results before considering a step up

Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn says he wants to consistently be beating New Zealand Super Rugby teams before he ever considers a step up to the next level, also that the Australian rugby public is sick of the talk -- it just wants action.

Thorn will coach the Reds through to the end of 2023 after taking some time to think over a two-year extension, despite leaving no doubt that Brisbane is exactly where he wants to be right now.

Buoyed by the strides he has made at Ballymore, Thorn is confident he can continue to take the Reds on from their 2021 Super Rugby AU triumph. At the top of that list will be far more success against New Zealand's teams in the new Super Rugby Pacific tournament, which in turn he says will provide an indication of where his career path might be headed.

"To go to that next level is a big step, I want to be consistently beating New Zealand teams to think about going to that next level," Thorn told reporters on Tuesday. "You've got to earn the right in my opinion.

"But alongside that I've got a young family, teenage kids, that I like being around. I've spent a lot of my career with my rugby, the All Blacks and that, being away, it's really important being around [now]. My No. 1 job is my family, my wife and my four kids. It's not something that I'm looking at the moment.

"I wasn't a player that would sit there going 'one day I'm going to coach, I'm going to be a career coach, it's going to be a career for me. All I know is I've done four years and I'm committed to two. And like I said, it'll probably be a similar thing, achieve in that time or leave it in a better place."

While it is likely Brumbies coach and current Wallabies assistant Dan McKellar will succeed Dave Rennie -- who is at this stage contracted through to the end of 2023 -- Thorn is one coach Rugby Australia will want to keep in its system.

Having progressed from the Queensland Under 20s program to the National Rugby Championship, where he won a title with Queensland Country, and then onto the Reds, where he set about a complete rebuild, Thorn has proven himself a man capable of executing a plan that can then get results.

Pushed on coaching against the All Blacks one day down the line, Thorn pointed to his days with Queensland and the Kangaroos in rugby league as proof there would be no conflict of national interests.

"At international level, you've got to remember that I actually represented Australia in rugby league; super proud to represent this country, and Queensland, I came here when I was nine years old. Like I said, this is my home, this is where I see home.

"New Zealand is where I'm from and I love New Zealand; nothing ever changes there. I'm sort of like a guy with two places really.

"But Brisbane's my home and living in Australia is just a privilege and if I was one day honoured to get that [Wallabies] job, I'd be happy to take on all comers. And being a guy who loves a challenge, you don't get many tougher challenges than the All Blacks."

"The Reds recorded one of only two Australian victories from 25 games in this year's Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, reflecting just how much work there is to be done for each of the Australian franchises ahead of next year's inaugural Super Rugby Pacific competition.

More recently, the Wallabies were whacked 3-0 by the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup, which reached a disappointing conclusion in Sunday's 38-21 defeat in Perth.

Thorn said that was an accurate reflection of just where things were at for Australian rugby, also, too, that the rugby public wanted to see the actions of its professional players marry up with their words.

"Well going through the Trans-Tasman, it was 25 games and New Zealand teams won 23 of them, I think anyone would say there's a solid little gulf there," Thorn said. "It's 23 wins out of 25, that's a good way to measure it.

"Obviously you've seen the Wallabies having some tough contests there with the New Zealanders; good athletes, very good skill set and good mindset that leads all that, so it's a good system over there. It's a good marker.

"South Africa are the world champions but New Zealand rugby's renowned for its standard of class and we've got a hungry desire to challenge that.

"But the big thing for me is not being big about the talk, more about the action. I sort of feel the rugby public in Australia, they'd probably prefer more action and less chat about it. So that's what we plan to do, we'll be working hard and we'll be training and competing to win."