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When the Qantas Men’s Sevens last commenced their HSBC Sevens World Series tour in 2011/2012 Matt Lucas had never experienced an international Sevens tournament.
But that all changed in round 6 when the rising Rugby star was called upon to join the Australian team in Hong Kong as an injury replacement.
Prior to his debut in Hong Kong in March 2012 the 19-year-old’s Rugby Sevens experience had been limited to local Sevens tournaments, the Singapore Sevens and the Noosa International Sevens, all with his local Club Sunnybank in Queensland.
His rise to Sevens stardom was rapid, a solid outing in Hong Kong was followed by a Tournament winning performance in round seven in Tokyo. Having made their way past Wales in the quarter-final and England in the semi-final the Australian’s found themselves facing a fierce Samoan side.
The electrifying final saw the Australians triumph for their first tournament in since 2010 by just two points. After coming from 21-12 down early in the second half the Samoans captured the lead with four minutes remaining. Up 21-26 the Samoans looked certain to deny the Aussies of a win, however captain Ed Jenkins and his chargers had other intentions. With less than a minute remaining on the clock Jenkins found himself in space out wide and after brushing off a couple of defenders crossed to tie up the scores.
Up stepped Lucas, still fresh on the international scene the 19 year old calmly lined up the goals and from just a couple of meters in from the sidelines converted with less than 25 seconds left on the clock to give the Australians a slender two-point lead, which as history shows they held on to securing a much deserved Cup victory.
This year Lucas has again been given the privilege to play for the Qantas Men’s Sevens as part of the side that won the recent Oceania Sevens Championships in Sydney.
Now that the exciting young talent has got a taste for international Rugby Sevens he has his sights set on being part of his first full HSBC Sevens World Series in 2012/13, which kicks-off on the Gold Coast on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October. Get your tickets!
With just over two weeks to go, there is a lot Lucas is looking forward to at this year’s Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch at Skilled Park (see the draw here) including the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd and the entertainment that goes hand in hand with the Sevens World Series.
“The best thing about being able to play on the Gold Coast is being able to have family and friends there,” Lucas told rugby.com.au.
“I’ve never really played in front of a home crowd in an International tournament before so I’m looking forward to having them there.
“You get some support overseas but knowing the crowd is behind you is always in the back of your mind at home games, which gives you more motivation and inspiration to play well.
“I’ve played in tournaments in other countries and thought about how good it would be to have the majority of the crowd cheering you on, so I can’t wait to get on the field on the Gold Coast.”
Another aspect of the crowd Lucas is looking forward to at Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch is fun and festivities the crowd gets involved in during a Sevens tournament.
“The atmosphere at a Sevens tournaments are really something,” says Lucas.
“It’s a real carnival atmosphere where everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves.
“Sometimes it makes you want to join the crowd. It creates a real mood to want to put on a show and make you want to run out as a player and add to the entertainment.
“While there’s plenty of off-field entertainment I’d certainly encourage fans to come and watch Australia play. We’re really proud to be playing for our country and I hope to see a lot of people there to support us,” Lucas said.
Lucas has been preparing for with the rest of the Qantas Men’s Sevens team and is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead at Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch and the entire HSBC Sevens World Series.
“The team has been mainly been working on chemistry. We’re a young team and there was a lot of learning last year.
“We now have the chance to build on everything from the past year as a group.
“The extra year of experience will be good for us especially towards the latter end of tournament and with the tougher games.
“New Zealand and Fiji are recognised as the world’s best Rugby Sevens nations so they’re the sides you relish the opportunity to play against,” Lucas says.
The opportunity to play Rugby Sevens when it debuts at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 is also an opportunity Lucas has on his mind.
“Having watched a lot of the Olympics this year it’s something to really look forward to and to aim for, to represent your country.
“Although it’s still a while away yet, to be able to call yourself an Olympian would be something in the back of all our minds I think.”
Lucas encouraged everyone to try Sevens as a sport, believing it is a magnificent way for people to get into Rugby and if they wanted to, get on the Pathway to potential Gold at the Olympics.
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