Lynagh, Creighton backed to steer Reds home in déjà vu Chiefs quarter final

Wed, Jun 5, 2024, 4:05 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

Reds flyhalf Tom Lynagh has been charged with running the cutter against Damien McKenzie's Chiefs once more in the Super Rugby Pacific quarter final cauldron.

Lynagh's inclusion ahead of Lawson Creighton, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips and James O'Connor headlines a suite of changes to Queensland's matchday squad for Friday night's clash.

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The 21-year-old made just his fifth Queensland start in last year's 29-20 playoff loss to the Chiefs but returns to Hamilton a more well-rounded playmaker after donning the #10 jersey in eight of his 10 appearances this season.

Neither O'Connor nor McLaughlin-Phillips will travel to New Zealand with Reds coach Les Kiss backing Lynagh's one-two punch with Creighton to steer Queensland towards a hoodoo-busting finals win.

“Tom’s finals experience last year pays forward for us. With Lawson from the bench, it’s a combo that’s’ worked well for us this season,” Kiss said.

“I’m very confident in the job they’ll do … (Lawson)'s goalkicking has been impeccable in recent times so he's an important part."

Reserve back Taj Annan offers a third playmaking option should Lynagh or Creighton be ruled out.

Up front, Kiss has also rung changes with backrower John Bryant, lock Ryan Smith and prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen returning to the starting XV.

Joe Brial, Connor Vest and Zane Nonggorr will take on pack finisher roles while Sef Fa'agase also comes onto the pine as place of Fijian international Peni Ravai.

Versatile forward Seru Uru will also celebrate his 50th Queensland cap on Friday night but Kiss is under no illusions about the challenge facing his Reds.

“Winning in Hamilton will be a difficult task. If we commit to playing our style, we’ve got a chance against a good Chiefs side.

“We have had some positive results against New Zealand teams this season. Of the three wins, one was crucially in Christchurch.

“That experience and what we’ve learnt in close matches will stand us in good stead but it doesn’t guarantee you anything.

“We’ve got to be able to handle the purple patch they’ll have in the game and that’s going to take a massive collective effort.

“I’m more than comfortable we have the players to turn up for those special moments in games like this.”

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