James O'Connor (R) looks on after injuring his ankle. Picture: Getty
James O'Connor (R) looks on after injuring his ankle. Picture: Getty

Reds star O’Connor grounded by dodgy ankle

James O'Connor's dodgy ankle has grounded him and thrust youngster Isaac Lucas into the hot seat at No.10 for the Queensland Reds visit to Christchurch.

Although not regarded as serious, his sprained right ankle will still mean O'Connor sitting out Friday's clash against the Crusaders.

Lucas played the final 34 minutes at flyhalf against the Sharks last weekend when O'Connor limped off Suncorp Stadium.

 

Watch every match of the 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby Season LIVE & On-Demand on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

 

It was the biggest of his bite-sized cameos over the past four matches since coach Brad Thorn started him at No.10 in the season-opener against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.

Thorn explained recently that preferring O'Connor at flyhalf from then on was never a knock on Lucas' suitability or potential as a No.10.

"Having a 29-year-old there (at No.10) to play a tough spot in away games (Buenos Aires and Johannesburg) was a good thing," Thorn said.

"Part of it was just depressuring Isaac as a young No.10 who will continue to get game time there off the bench and starting opportunities.

"Isaac is an outstanding talent."

 

Isaac Lucas is a livewire prospect who started the season as the Reds’ No.10. Picture: AAP
Isaac Lucas is a livewire prospect who started the season as the Reds’ No.10. Picture: AAP

Lucas, 21, is a fearless, back-yourself type who will dive into this challenge against the champions of Super Rugby.

When a ball bobbled loose, he swooped on it against the Sunwolves, put on a little footwork and scored from 25m out.

He has that knack plus a strong voice to communicate to his troops but is still developing his ability to organise supports inside and out.

He will form a new halves pairing with Samoan international Scott Malolua with top halfback Tate McDermott being rotated to the bench.

Young No.8 Harry Wilson has recovered from a head knock to take his place in the starting pack.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto comes in at lock with Wallabies lock Izack Rodda being rested presumably under Wallabies' time management advice.

Reds v Crusaders, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, 4:05pm AEST Friday

TV: Live on Fox Sports and Kayo

REDS: Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Henry Speight, Isaac Lucas, Scott Malolua, Harry Wilson, Liam Wright (c), Angus Scott-Young, Harry Hockings, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, JP Smith. Reserves: Ed Craig, Dane Zander, Josh Nasser, Angus Blyth, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Bryce Hegarty, Filipo Daugunu.


When will we spot Migaloo passing the Far North Coast?

premium_icon When will we spot Migaloo passing the Far North Coast?

AUSTRALIAN Eastern Humpback whales are on the move to the warmer northern waters...

The ‘devil’s music’ can be fun and caring

premium_icon The ‘devil’s music’ can be fun and caring

In Hearts Wake have had some of their shows picketed in America

Farmer stole water for macadamia business

premium_icon Farmer stole water for macadamia business

He pleaded guilty to taking and using water without a licence