AAP Rugby

New-look Reds a familiar sight for Thorn

By AAP Newswire

The Queensland backline's fancy feet, fast hands and willingness to "play some footy" is pleasing a nostalgic Brad Thorn, who's seen plenty in his time.

The Reds coach played rugby league for Queensland and Australia before a stellar career in an All Blacks side that faced some of the Wallabies' most fluid playmakers, and he knows what works.

Thorn is set to hand Isaac Lucas the No.10 jersey when their Super Rugby season begins against the Brumbies on Friday night, the Wallabies contender having impressed in comprehensive trial wins over the Rebels and Waratahs in the past fortnight.

Thorn looks to have largely settled on the rest of his backline too, with 21-year-old Tate McDermott a livewire at the scrum base and 19-year-old centre Jordan Petaia to join forces with 20-year-old Lucas.

The experienced Bryce Hegarty (27) and James O'Connor (29) are likely to start at fullback and inside centre respectively but are can act as primary or secondary playmakers if Lucas is shifted.

Barnstorming winger Henry Speight did plenty enough in Friday's trial defeat of the Waratahs to win a start against his former club, while Jock Campbell is a likely replacement on the opposite flank for the suspended Filipo Daugunu.

"There's some strike out there isn't there? You're seeing guys with high skill sets and creativity that are just natural rugby players," Thorn said.

"It's that style I've always loved about Australian backs, where they have that natural moving of the ball.

"(Lucas is) enjoying his footy there (at No.10) and been enjoying James outside him.

"There's some footy being played and it's good to watch."

Thorn mixed and matched his playmakers throughout last season in an attack that centred around departed captain Samu Kerevi.

"Last year we didn't get settled on our playmaker but we've moved guys to positions that suit their skill set," new captain Liam Wright said.

"He (Lucas) straightens up the line, has fancy feet and just creates difficulty in the defensive line."

Lucas wants to make that position his own as hype around his Wallabies prospects grow.

"I like to challenge the defence but with the guys you've got outside you you'd be pretty dumb not to give them the ball in space," he said.

The Reds haven't played finals since 2013 and will learn plenty about themselves on a tough three-week start in Canberra, South Africa (Lions) and Argentina (Jaguares).