Promising star ditches Australia for Japan
TRANSFER NEWS: With his former Reds teammates Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott and Hunter Paisami all earning maiden Wallabies call-ups this year, it’s not a wild suggestion to say that Isaac Lucas was possibly destined for the gold jersey in 2020 too.
Instead, however, one of the stars of last year’s Under 20 World Championship will be plying his trade in Japan next season, having parted ways with the Reds after the Super Rugby side tried to renegotiate contract arrangements earlier this year due to the financial impact of COVID.
Lucas has been unveiled as one of the newest signings for Top League side Ricoh Black Rams, where his older brother Matt has spent the last few seasons.
The Lucas brothers aren’t the only foreigners on the Rams’ books, however, with the likes of Kiwis Robbie Robinson, Matt McGahan, Elliot Dixon and Ben Funnell all contracted to the team with one of the best jerseys in world rugby.
Former Wallabies flyhalf Berrick Barnes has played for Ricoh for the past two years but hung up his boots at the end of the unfinished 2020 season. Lucas could well be viewed as a replacement for Barnes, despite the 21-year-old looking more at home in the fullback jersey than at first receiver.
Former Australian representative Joe Tomane has also signed with the club. Tomane, who played in the NRL for three seasons at the start of his career, has also played rugby in France and Ireland and was set to join the Dragons club in Wales for the upcoming PRO14 season but those plans have evidently been altered due to the global pandemic.
Waratahs legend Peter Hewat, who was the leading points-scorer in the 2005 Super Rugby season, has also joined the club as an assistant coach.
All three Australians are excellent pick-ups for Ricoh but its Lucas’ signature that is perhaps the most precious. The prodigiously talented outside back is still only in the early stages of his career and could become a sensational performer for the Rams, providing they manage to keep him in Japan for the long-term.
No doubt, Australian clubs will be trying to lure the 21-year-old back to his home nation once his initial contract with Ricoh comes to a close.