Thorn and Reds lock in young talent ahead of 1000th Queensland match

The Queensland Reds have secured the future of their lock stocks with the re-signing of promising young forwards Lukhan Tui and Angus Blyth for a further two seasons.

In a sign of their faith in the program, Tui, 21, and Blyth, 20, have both committed to remain at Ballymore through 2020.

Tui joined the Reds in late 2015 and has progressed through the ranks at Ballymore, first representing the Queensland U20s in 2016, before making his Super Rugby debut in the same year. He established himself as a regular in the Reds’ lineup last year and went on to make his Wallabies debut.

“It was an easy decision to stay at Ballymore. I’m really happy with how everything is going and I’m looking forward to the next two years,” Tui said.

“From my first year to now, I’ve enjoyed my time here and it is only going to get better. There’s a good vibe at Ballymore at the moment. Everyone is keen and working hard, pushing each other to get better.”

Blyth is currently in his first season as part of the Reds’ senior squad, after cutting his teeth under the tutelage of Reds head coach Brad Thorn in the Queensland U20s, before contributing to Queensland Country’s first-ever National Rugby Championship title last year.

“It’s great to be able to stay at Ballymore and keep working hard,” Blyth said.

“I’ve come through the ranks with the 20s, the NRC and now the Reds and I’m really enjoying working with Brad (Thorn). I feel I’m learning a lot and growing as a player.

“I’m driven to get better. There’s a lot of competition for lock spots within the squad and we’re all pushing each other and helping each other to be better.”

Thorn said he was pleased to be able to retain the pair, who are part of the next generation of talent coming through the ranks at Ballymore.

“It’s good to lock these guys in. Lukhan (Tui) has been here since he was 19. I first came across him in our U20s program and he has worked really hard to develop his game and work his way into the Reds and the Wallabies,” Thorn said.

“People might not have heard of Angus (Blyth) yet, but he has a big future. You’ll see him sooner rather than later. He’s a determined young man who comes from a good family. He’s a good kid who is working hard and waiting for his opportunity.

“We’ve got good depth in the locks at the moment, with a number of young guys chipping away at their trade. There’s competition for spots and that’s healthy for a squad. As a former lock myself, I’m excited at the potential of these young men.”

The Reds take on the Chiefs in Round 10 of Vodafone Super Rugby this Saturday, 21 April. The fixture will be Queensland’s 1000th capped match in the 134-year history of Queensland Rugby Union.