Thorn disappointed with Reds' loss

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    27 May 2018     Getty Images

Thorn said towards the end of the first half the Reds had played some good rugby and seemed to be energised as a result but while starting with some 'reasonable stuff' early in the second half it had petered out into a battle for field position.

The Highlanders had been able to put some valuable experience onto the field as substitutes late in the game and that had helped them maintain the momentum.

"There were three points in it but, yeah, it was frustrating. I thought they controlled the game better," he said.

"You've got one of the best halfbacks in the world [Aaron Smith] finishing the game and Lima [Sopoaga] has played some pretty big footy now and they controlled that pretty well," he said.

Thorn said there were lots of little good things occurring in the Reds game but there were times when their 'smarts' could have been better, especially in using the ball instead of kicking it.

Captain Izack Rodda said the game had been there for the taking but the Reds needed to take opportunities when they occurred.

"We let ourselves down a little bit that way and it's a big learning curve for us," he said.

While it had been frustrating to lose there was a lot of work going in, he said.

Thorn acknowledged Rodda's contribution to the side and said while he was seen by many as one of the stalwarts of the team he was still only 21 and he and other young players in the side were trying hard but it was Super Rugby and it meant playing quality teams and that was how it rolled.

Thorn was asked about the new law trial at the World Under-20 tournament intended to lower the tackle height further now to nipple level. He said it would be the belly button soon.

"Where is it going to end? For me I'm just pleased I'm retired," he said.

"I still reckon the crowds enjoy some contact, some physicality. If someone is deliberately picking a guy up and spear tackling or someone deliberately takes someone's head off the year, definitely, that needs to be sorted out," he said.

But when someone like Rodda, who was around 6ft 7in and 120kgs trying to play aggressively and coming in hard, it wasn't always easy, he said.