Lucas locked in for Queensland Country

by Sam Phillips

Australian Sevens playmaker Tom Lucas is set to make a switch to XVs, joining Queensland Country's squad for the upcoming NRC season. understands Lucas has been training with coach Rod Seib's squad since training started early this month, Australian Men's Sevens coach Tim Walsh not standing in Lucas' way as he reshapes his squad for the 2018-19 season.

The 24-year-old made a surprise appearance for Country in the City-Country trial on Saturday and caught the eye of captain Duncan Paia'aua, who backed the utility back to make the transition to XVs.

"I've watched a bit of his Sevens games over the past couple of years and he always has that skill, speed and fitness," Paia'aua said at Tuesday's NRC launch.

"A lot of the Sevens boys struggle to make that transition back to XVs but I think he is a natural rugby player.

"He'll be fine."

Tom Lucas has been a prominent playmaker in the Aussie Sevens ranks. Photo: WalmsleyLucas lined up at fullback for Country on Saturday but Paia'aua said he possessed the versatility which runs in the family.

"He's a bit like all of the Lucas boys in that he can play anywhere," he said.

"He can play No. 9, No. 10, No. 15.

"He played No. 15 on the weekend and I think he will go really well there."

The Sevens convert will form a strong playmaking core should he start at fullback when Country face Canberra in their NRC opener on Saturday evening, Paia'aua and Hamish Stewart set to star from No. 12 and No. 10, respectively.Paia'aua will lead Queensland Country in 2018. Photo: Getty Images"It's a bit different coming off as champions last year when we were normally coming dead last for the first few seasons," Paia'aua said.

"The boys are a really humble group at the moment that are willing to work hard for each other.

"Hopefully we start the season well and continue through to make finals this year."

After facing Canberra Country will hit the road - playing their home games at Townsville, Mackay and the Gold Coast.

"I love that - especially being a Rocky boy," Paia'aua said.

"I think we should do more of it and being Queensland Country we should try and take all our games out there and showcase the sport in the country areas.

"It will only benefit the game out in those areas for sure."