Wallaby legend's son picks Australia over England
SPOTLIGHT: Tom Lynagh was born in Italy and has grown up in England, so it shocked even his former World Cup-winning Wallabies father Michael when he said he wanted to play for the Queensland Reds.
While the pale skin was struggling with the first signs of a Brisbane summer on Wednesday, the 17-year-old Lynagh made clear where his loyalties lie as he began life at Ballymore.
“I have always dreamt of playing for Australia,” he said after emerging from two weeks of quarantine.
“I might not get the opportunity but it’s just about the dream and the Queensland Reds seem like a good place to help me reach that.
“I like the brand of rugby that’s played down here, felt it was my style of play.”
— Jim Tucker (@HulaBulaJim) September 1, 2021
A flyhalf like his father, Lynagh had been impressing for Harlequins and England’s academy system before breaking the news to his parents.
“We were sitting in the car and he said ‘I don’t really want to play in that, I want to go to Australia’. It was a bit of a shock,” Michael said.
The teenage Lynagh’s arrival comes while older brother Louis has recommitted to Harlequins – despite Rugby Australia’s efforts to retain top talent and reject the lure of big-money European and Japanese deals.
“That’s why it was a bold decision by Tom to leave the comfort of where he was to say ‘that’s what I want to do’,” Michael said.
“I was very proud of him to make such a big decision rather than follow in his brother’s footsteps, but I don’t think it had anything do to with bucking the trend [of Rugby Australia’s talent drain].
“It was just what he wanted to do; he’s lucky the Reds gave him the opportunity to do that and he’s done nothing so far, so he knows it’s now up to him.”
Lynagh felt his son was arriving at the Reds, who won last seasons’ Super Rugby AU title, with the frnachise “on the up and bringing back some of the glory days”.
But with Tom now following in his footsteps he said his 100 Reds caps and 72 Test were not regular topics at the dinner table.
“I get stick from the boys when I start talking, but it’s all been pretty low key, we don’t have memorabilia around the house,” Michael said.
“Going through school people know the name and they’ve dealt with it very well.
“We’re pleased Tom’s made this huge decision, a big, bold decision and hopefully he’ll find his way and make his own stories.”