They’re one of the best rugby families Australia has ever produced, but if you’re not from Queensland you’ve probably never heard of them.
ACT Brumbies recruit Matt Lucas has three brothers in the professional ranks – and while the Lucas boys are well known in rugby circles – their story as a collective has been largely untold.
It’s not often four child prodigies hail from one family, and rarer still that they grow up to fulfil their talent, but Brisbane-raised Ben, Matt, Tom and Isaac have all delivered in spades.
Ben, Matt and Isaac joined the Ellas, Faingaas and Harleys as the only trio of brothers to represent the Australian schoolboys, and all four have played sevens for Australia.
Tom has captained the Australian sevens side and was only denied an Olympic berth after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament last year. He has since recovered and is preparing for the Commonwealth Games in April.
Ben won a Super Rugby title with the Queensland Reds before joining Montpellier and now plies his trade in Japan, while Isaac is on the books at the Reds and has just been selected in the Australian under-20 squad.
Matt’s rugby connections aren’t restricted to his immediate family either, with the Brumbies halfback dating Australian sevens Olympic gold medallist Alicia Quirk.
Matt was given his first Super Rugby contract at the Waratahs and debuted in Brisbane against Ben in 2013, with a huge family contingent in the stands.
The crafty No. 9 turned plenty of heads during his five seasons in Sydney, including praise on Twitter from the late great Jonah Lomu.
The 25-year-old earned several starts ahead of Wallabies No. 9 Nick Phipps and Matt is now looking to leapfrog another Wallaby in Joe Powell to make the Brumbies starting XV this season.
Although Matt has no shortage of rugby advice should he ever need it, when speaking of family get-togethers, it seems the Lucas boys are more preoccupied with ribbing each other rather than talking tactics.
“We don’t talk rugby too much to be honest, there’s a lot of bragging and boasting and everyone trying to impose their status as the alpha of the brothers, it usually just ends up in a wrestle,” Matt said.
“It’s not too serious rugby-wise though, we just love each other’s company and competing against each other and ragging on each other – who’s the best cricketer is a hot topic at Christmas.”
Brumbies’ recruit Matt Lucas is one of four brothers playing professional rugby. Photo: Karleen Minney
The three oldest brothers are all established professionals, however it’s 18-year-old Isaac who has long been touted as the most talented of the bunch.
“I don’t think Zachy feels too much pressure, he loves his footy but we’ve pressed on him that he’s his own man and can do what he wants,” Matt said.
“He was by far the best at school academically and is doing really well at uni, so he has the brains if he wants to go down a different track and he’ll make us proud no matter what.
“But he’s as passionate about his footy now as he’s ever been and when we’re on holidays he’s the one pushing us to get to the gym and go for a kick, he just applies himself and is so disciplined with it all.”
Matt also praised his parents for their tireless efforts in making the boys who they are today, and while dad, Phil, played Brisbane first-grade, the talent most likely comes from mum, Jo, who was a champion tennis player.
“Dad played a fair bit of first grade but got caught up in the college life and mum was very athletic in her own right, so I always say mum because don’t want to give dad too much credit,” Matt said.
“It is pretty special to think where we’re all at and it’s thanks to our parents first and foremost, on weekends back in the day they’d cover the whole of Brisbane, we’re very lucky to have them.
“The dream would be to one day go home and play a game together for our club Sunnybank, I’d play nine, Benny at 10, then Tommy and Zachy in the centres or maybe one at fullback.”
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