Lucas primed to help Reds banish Sunwolves demons

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

He played no part last season but Isaac Lucas is ready to help the Reds banish the demons of their most demoralising loss of 2018 when they take on the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.

Lucas, 20, made his Super Rugby debut off the bench in the Reds' season-opener against the Highlanders and has impressed coaching staff so much he was elevated to the starting team for last weekend's interstate clash against the Waratahs in Sydney.

While the Reds have not yet named their team to take on the Sunwolves, the young gun is sure to play a major part in what is shaping as a must-win clash for the 0-3 Queenslanders.

"Obviously the team hasn't been announced yet but if I were to get the opportunity I'd just like to build on last week," he said.

"I really enjoyed last week's performance and obviously took a lot from it.

"So if I did get the opportunity again, I'd take it with both hands."

Isaac Lucas has earnt a start at fullback for the Reds. Photo: Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley

Lucas played most of his junior football wearing no.10 and with Bryce Hegarty out of the Sunwolves clash nursing injured ribs, Lucas could find himself at five-eighth at least for stages of the match.

Regardless of where he lines up, there's little doubt Lucas will be called on to make a significant contribution after he made the most of his first Super Rugby start last week, impressing plenty of good judges including Reds coach Brad Thorn.

"Isaac Lucas, that was a big night for him tonight," Thorn said after the loss to the Waratahs.

"He's been showing stuff all pre-season and I thought he showed some little things tonight that showed his qualities."

The Reds lost 63-28 to the Sunwolves in Japan last year in a game that marked the low point of their season and are determined not to lose focus on the road again.

 

Queensland opted for a night flight into Tokyo to optimise their preparation time in Tokyo, with Lucas saying the players were well rested after the journey from Sydney, where the team linked up with its Wallabies players following their weekend camp.

They will face a test on Saturday though, with the Sunwolves just falling short of beating the Waratahs at home and claiming the scalp of the Chiefs on the road.

"This is not a trip to go sightseeing, we're really focussed on getting the win this week," prop JP Smith said before the Reds left Australia.

"We've lost three games in a row and we really want the (win) and we're really desperate to get that this weekend.

"It just comes down to execution. We really need to hold on to the ball and be patient and that's what we're looking to do."

The Reds take on the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, on Saturday, March 16, at 3:15pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.