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Lucock: Newcastle were the best team I’ve seen come down to the Championship

Pete Lucock

PETE LUCOCK would probably class himself more in the mould of former professional footballers David Batty and Brian Deane than world-famous artist, Damien Hurst – fellow alumni of Allerton Grange High School in Leeds – given his physical presence in midfield.

But the 27-year-old from Moortown, a suburb to the north of the Yorkshire city, does have a creative side to him as well as he showed when filling in at fly-half for his hometown club a few years ago.

Consistently the Championship’s standout player in his favoured slot of 12, Lucock made it into the league’s Dream XV in 2019 before securing a move to county rivals Doncaster Knights.

At Doncaster, Lucock was never able to show the class that Leeds fans became accustomed to during his 163-game Headingley career, as an ACL injury ruled out for all but the first two months of last season.

“I did it in the first five minutes, and I got to half-time and then my knee had just swollen up and I knew something wasn’t right. If I’d known I’d done my ACL and would be out for nine months, I would have probably carried on,” he said, showing true Yorkshire grit.

Even so, Newcastle DoR Dean Richards had seen enough of Lucock to offer him a three-year deal and his first shot at Premiership rugby and he could make just as big an impact in the Premiership at inside centre as Gloucester’s Mark Atkinson did on stepping up from Bedford in level two.

With his injury and the delayed start to the 2020/21 Premiership season, trainee joiner Lucock is now hoping to carve it up in English rugby’s top-flight which you can view betting markets on with the benefit of this Ladbrokes promo code for 2020.

“It’s probably coming up to nearly a year since I played, so I’m itching for it,” he said. “We had a load of optional sessions and obviously I was ready to jump into them straight away because I haven’t done anything for so long.

“I’ve always had this at the back of my mind, that eventually I want to go on and test myself at this level. Rugby has always been about an enjoyment and playing and now I’ve got the chance to do that but also test myself in the best league. It is probably the perfect move for me at this time.”

Tried and tested: Pete Lucock carries the ball for Yorkshire Carnegie against Romania, in a warm-up match prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Lucock just missed out on the last of Leeds’ Premiership seasons, in 2010/11, moving into the first XV squad the following year.

“Playing in the Premiership with my hometown club was a big driver for me staying at Leeds as long as I did, but things change,” he said.

“Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have changed anything. I think it has put me in good stead for where I am now, and I am ready for the challenge.” One of the few games Lucock played for Knights was in a 57-0 Championship Cup defeat against Newcastle at Kingston Park.

And from that moment on, he decided Newcastle would be a great move for him.

“Playing them last year, I think that’s the best team that’s come down since I’ve been in the Champ,” he added. “The intensity they played with and the collision and the physicality was all well above what anyone was used to in the Champ, which is why I think they did so well.

“When we played them at Kingston Park for Doncaster, I remember coming off thinking, ‘they’re a team I wanted to be a part of’.

“I’ve always said I won’t move just for the sake of it, I want to move to a club that I want to buy into and will bring the best out of me and I think Newcastle ticks all of those boxes.

“I know a few lads who’ve made moves and not enjoyed it and that’s always been the biggest factor in my rugby – enjoying it.

“Having been there for a couple of months, it is 100 per cent the right decision at the right time in my career.”

JON NEWCOMBE

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