Nothing finer than a new Lynagh at Ballymore

Wed, 01/09/2021, 08:56 am
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker
Wallabies scrumhalf Tate McDermott and backrower Lachlan Swinton have spoken to media from Perth.

Tom Lynagh has a three-way rugby passport to play for Italy, England or Australia yet even his famous father was caught out by how definitive his choice was when it came.

“I have always dreamt about playing for Australia,” the 17-year-old Lynagh said at Ballymore on Wednesday.

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“I might not get the ultimate opportunity but it’s just about the dream and the Queensland Reds seemed like a good place to come to reach that.”

There you have it in a nutshell. That’s why the teenaged son of Australia’s 1991 World Cup-winning hero Michael Lynagh has linked with the Reds for 2022-23.

The young flyhalf needs to work on his suntan after two weeks in quarantine and most of his life in England. What he already has is game. Take a look at his highlights with the Harlequins Academy on YouTube. He attacks the line, he has a stutter step to deceive defenders, he’ll throw in a chip-and-chase and there’s just a verve to attack. Tick.

It’s great when dreams get a big push along. At the 2015 World Cup in England, young Lynagh was an avid 12-year-old fan bewitched by watching Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Kurtley Beale and Co winning in style against Wales and England in pool play and getting by Scotland and Argentina in the finals phase.

Shame if you were an English youngster at that time. Your team crashed out before the finals and your poster boys suddenly became the Aldi variety.

“During the 2015 Rugby World Cup, I was watching the Wallabies get to the final...and I actually went to the final even though it didn’t work out in the end,” he said.

“I’ve always just followed Australian rugby for as long as I can remember. I just like the brand of rugby they play down here (in Australia and New Zealand). It’s more exciting and it’s the direction rugby should go towards to grow the game.”

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Father Michael was at Ballymore as a sidekick on Wednesday and gave the clear impression that his son is his own man making his own decisions.

“I’m pleased Tom has made this big decision, a bold one. Hopefully he feels comfortable here and he gets to make his own stories,” Michael said.

“I remember we were sitting in the car (in England) and he said ‘I want to go to Australia’. It was a bit of a shock.

“Tom’s timing is really good. It’s great to see the Ballymore redevelopment and Queensland rugby seems very much on the up.”

Lynagh played 72 Tests for Australia, conjured the miracle at Lansdowne Road at the 1991 World Cup to sink Ireland and was a frontline figure in the 1984 Grand Slam triumph and the historic 1986 Bledisloe Cup series win in NZ. We could go on. He played 100 times for Queensland.

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He was a silky-smooth flyhalf of the highest order but like any dad you don’t get any traction at the family dinner table retelling old war stories.

“Mostly I tend to just get stick when I start talking about the old days,” Lynagh said with a laugh.

Young Tom has chosen the Reds. Elder brother Louis, 20, is building his reputation for Harlequins after his England Under-20s stint.

“I know about his career. It was quite an accomplished career and obviously he played quite a bit for Queensland,” Tom said of his father's Hall of Fame mark.

Leave it at that.

One of the most famous names in Queensland rugby has a place again at Ballymore.

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