Cult hero Jeremy Thrush admits returning to Super Rugby is like ‘riding a bike with flat tires and a rusty chain’ as Force star defies ‘father’ to put in stunning performance
Western Force lock Jeremy Thrus says he was struggling to get rid of his “bod bod” ahead of last week’s fairytale comeback, but some reassuring words from Richard Kahui and Dane Coles helped boost his confidence .
Thrush were lured out of retirement by new Force coach Simon Cron on the eve of the Super Rugby Pacific season after Ryan McCauley (shoulder) and Izack Rodda (leg) were ruled out through injury.
The memorable comeback will forever be etched in Force folklore, with Thrush coming off the bench to score the winner in Saturday night’s 34-27 win over the Melbourne Rebels.
Cron is considering keeping Thrush for the whole season and the 37-year-old is open to the idea.
But he initially felt a little guilty about returning given the special sending off he received in his exit game with the Hurricanes last season.
Jeremy Thrus made a triumphant return to Super Rugby last week, coming off the bench to score the winning try as the Western Force beat the Melbourne Rebels 34-27.
Thrush (top halfback) was only recalled to the squad on the eve of the Super Rugby Pacific season after Ryan McCauley and Izack Rodda were ruled out with shoulder and leg injuries.
“I felt pretty bad to be fair. The way they sent me off with that haka was very special and I was quite grateful for that,” Thrush told reporters on Tuesday.
“I left a message [Hurricanes hooker] Dane Coles when I knew I might be on the bench, just to give him a heads up.
“I just told him none of this was planned.
“He just said, ‘Stick in and have a good crack at it.’ It made me feel better about it all.’
Former Force and All Blacks teammate Kahui was also supportive.
“He told me during the week it’s like riding a bike,” Thrush said, before adding: “I said ‘one with flat tires and a rusty chain.’
What made Thrush’s performance even more remarkable was the fact that he only had a full week of training with the Force under his belt before the fight.
‘[Before that] I had probably done two runs by myself, nothing too intense,” he said.
“I was on the Wattbike a few times and lifted weights, but nothing too serious.
“I was just trying to get rid of dad, but it was taking a while.”
Thrush says he will have “rolling” conversations with Cron and Force management about how much more is needed.
But at the very least, it is set to be unleashed in Sunday’s clash with the Queensland Reds in Melbourne.
Thrush is a member of the training team at the Force academy.
He is also the head coach of Washington rugby union side Wests Scarborough.
The powerful Kiwi lock won 11 caps with the All Blacks between 2013 and 2015
The 37-year-old joined the Western Force in 2020 and retired at the end of last season
If Thrush’s tenure with the Force lasts the full Super season, he said there would be a way to balance his coaching and racing duties.
Thrush was initially hesitant to reverse his retirement decision. But the more he thought about it, the more right it seemed.
“I’ve met a lot of great people through the Force, guys who can no longer play for them because of injuries,” he said.
“I kind of knew if they had the same decision, they would die for it.”
Watch every match, ad-free, live and on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport.