Schmidt backs 'courageous' Lynagh to fill father's Wallabies footsteps

Fri, Jun 21, 2024, 3:56 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Joe Schmidt press conference Wallabies Squad announcement

Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt is confident Tom Lynagh can match it at Test level after selecting the young half for his first Wallabies squad.

The 21-year-old Lynagh follows in the footsteps of legendary father Michael, who played 72 games for Australia and guided them to the 1991 World Cup.

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The Italian-born half has been selected as one of 13 Reds in Schmidt's squad for the July series.

Lynagh has thrived at the Reds in 2024 after arriving back in Australia at the end of 2022, impressing Schmidt with his toughness.

"Right from the start of the season, Tom has been kicking the ball long and he's a courageous man," the coach remarked.

"Anyone who gets up, I wouldn't say quickly from Samipeni Finau hitting him, but he got up and continued to play and he challenges the line, he's got good acceleration.

"He's young and he's still got a lot to learn and we're going to try to fast track that learning over this next four weeks."

It comes as the Reds half leapfrogged departing Rebels half Carter Gordon, who signed a deal with NRL club Gold Coast Titans.

"I think with Carter, we've actually got Noah (Lolesio), Tom and Ben (Donaldson), who've all done pretty well this year. Some of their percentages exceed Carter's," Schmidt notes.

"We've just got to be excited about the guys that we have got.

"I've had a number of discussions with Carter. I really like him. I think he's a great young kid. I think there could be an opportunity for him to come back at some stage after probably getting a little bit out of his system from recent times, whether it be the World Cup or more recently."

Lyngah is joined in the squad by Reds teammate Alex Hodgman, who could become just the fourth player to represent the All Blacks and Wallabies.

"I've coached Alex briefly. I went in to help out the Blues when Tana (Umaga) had a year off and helped with the defence and Alex worked really hard, works hard on his game," Schmidt added.

"I think he'll be pretty excited to be in the squad with a chance of being one of four people, which is an extraordinary little bit of history that he might be able to be part of.

"He'll be understanding that it's going to be a pretty pragmatic decision and there's things to be earned and he'll be ready to roll his sleeves up come Monday."

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