Thorn marks new era with new Reds captain

If they keep doing what they've always done in Super Rugby, Queensland will get what they've always had - nothing.

Scott Higginbotham will captain the Queensland Reds in the 2018 Super Rugby season.

Scott Higginbotham will captain the Queensland Reds in the 2018 Super Rugby season.

That's how new Reds coach Brad Thorn has explained his decision to install Scott Higginbotham as captain.

It's also his mantra as he seeks to turn the Super Rugby battlers into a competitive force and breed a winning culture at Ballymore.

"It's (to) turn the leaf, isn't it?" Thorn told reporters on Thursday.

"The Reds, in the last four years, I think from 62 games, we've won 16 of them.

"This place needed to have some changes and I think that's a positive one.

"It feels like the right fit."

It is Higginbotham's second time as skipper of a Super Rugby team, having previously led the Melbourne Rebels in 2014-15.

"It's an honour. It's something very special," Higginbotham said.

"Even more so on top of that is to have someone like Thorny see you in that kind of light.

"It means a lot to me."

Higginbotham, 31, is one of the most-experienced members of this Queensland squad with 123 caps for the state and 34 Test appearances for Australia. He is also the most-prolific try-scoring forward in Super Rugby history.

He will lead a new era under Thorn, who is embracing what has been a tumultuous off-season since taking over as coach in October from Nick Stiles.

The retired dual-code warrior controversially showed the door to Quade Cooper and Nick Frisby. He was also confronted by some unwanted off-field troubles via Karmichael Hunt's drug charges and George Smith's 18-day stint in a Japanese jail.

"It's been solid - that's what I'd call it. A bit of a fixer-upperer," Thorn said.

Thorn never shirked a challenge in his days with the All Blacks, Kangaroos, Brisbane NRL team and Crusaders. And, the 42-year-old, who transformed perennial NRC losers Queensland Country into a premiership outfit last year, isn't about to start now.

"Some things have happened over the summer and you sort of go, wow, that's not great, that sucks," Thorn said.

"But part of me just goes, good, bring it on.

"That's how I want this club to be - up for the fight.

"In the situations we're coming from, we're going to need that as a club.

"There hasn't been much success in the last four or five years, so that's how it is.

"So be it. We'll put our heads down and work hard."

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