Lucas continues to juggle Reds, Junior Wallabies roles in breakout season

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

Isaac Lucas will continue to juggle responsibilities with the Reds and Junior Wallabies as he looks to finish the biggest season of his career with a world championship victory.

Fresh from celebrating a shutout of New Zealand for an Oceania U20 championship win with the Junior Wallabies on the Gold Coast on Saturday night, Lucas is likely to be named on the Reds' bench for this week's crucial Australian conference clash against the Rebels in Melbourne.

But if the Reds are able to seal a finals spot for the first time since 2013, Lucas - who played the opening seven games of the season and started at both flyhalf and fullback - will not be part of the action.

The 20-year-old played a crucial role in the Junior Wallabies' 24-0 win over New Zealand from fullback, making an outstanding cover tackle on Kiwi flyer Lalomilo Lalomilo, who seemed certain to score before Lucas took him over the sideline late in the first half to maintain Australia's clean sheet.

And he is key to Australia's chances in the June 4-23 tournament, meaning he will miss the final three rounds of the fixture season, as will Reds teammate and Junior Wallabies captain Fraser McReight, who had earnt three Reds caps before the Oceania campaign.

Isaac Lucas in action for the Reds against the Waratahs in his starting debut for Queensland. Photo: Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley

"I think Thorny realises that 20s is a viable part of your pathway," Lucas said of coach Brad Thorn, who has been such a supporter of his Junior Wallabies he took Lucas and McReight out of his squad for the recent tour of South Africa so they could head into camp with the U20s ahead of the Oceania tournament.

"Obviously the Reds are playing some great footy and we've been able to do our thing for the 20s.

"We're really enjoying it, I think we're all on the same page, so I think it's worked out pretty well."

Lucas said his early Super Rugby spell had been a great advantage heading back into the U20 ranks.

"Getting those early seven (Super Rugby) games this year put me in good stead and I'm enjoying my role in the Junior Wallabies and I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment, so it's been huge.

"There's a few (Junior Wallabies) guys that have Super caps but a lot of boys have been involved in a Super Rugby pre-season and that puts us in great stead sharing those little things.

The Junior Wallabies have won a maiden Oceania U20 championship. Photo: Getty Images

"Just those things you can pick up in a Super Rugby pre-season is huge and to come back and share with the boys is huge for the group."

Lucas knows the Junior Wallabies' task in Argentina is a tough one but backed McReight's assessment that their Oceania victory had shown them they could win the world championship.

"If you're going into a World Cup and the World Cup victory is not your primary goal, you're not in it for the right reasons," Lucas said.

"That's our big focus but as I've said before, there's a lot of hard work that needs to be put in for that.

"This game puts us in good stead but the job's not done yet."

But he would savour the win over the Kiwis, who had never before lost the Oceania title.

"It's very special. Obviously when you beat a Kiwi side, it doesn't come around often and you've got to enjoy it," he said.

"Also to keep them to zero, that's another great effort by the boys and we'll look to build into the World Cup now with that performance.

"Obviously it's a special win and we'll enjoy it but it's half the job done.

"The World Cup's the end goal for us."