The Queensland Reds have found themselves in a bit of a bind with the departure of Quade Cooper and the maelstrom surrounding Karmichael Hunt.
They intend to fill the void with Ben Lucas.
Lucas is a utility back and has prior experience with the Reds, having served with them in one previous stint. Lucas will be used at flyhalf and fullback and the move is seen as a wise one by the Reds, as their travails at key positions were obvious.
Lucas only recently finished up his job with the Toyota Verblitz club in Japan and he showed up at Ballymore for training, much to the delight of Reds players.
Lucas is a bit long in the tooth, but at the age of 30, only just. Since leaving to play overseas, he has two years with French club Montpellier and two with Japan’s Top League.
Add to that seven seasons and 74 games for the Reds between 2008 and 2014, he will also contribute his sage wisdom to a Reds list that has a half dozen players who are barely old enough to shave.
The Reds may have been experiencing a burst of clairvoyance, as they began talking with Lucas well before the current situations with Cooper and Hunt took shape. They reportedly were in talks with him in September of 2017.
That was before Brad Thorn was made coach.
Lucas’ deserved reputation as a bold competitor, strong defender and sharp kicker are all ticks in his favour and it hurts his cause not one bit that he is happy to be back in Queensland.
Lucas felt compelled to seek more verdant pastures in 2014 when he could not come to terms with the previous Reds’ management.
It is likely that the Reds will give him a one-year deal that could see him as the Reds’ starting fullback.
It is possible that fans may see Lucas in the intra-squad trial and also with the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens in early February.