The Roar
The Roar


Make a note: Lynagh and Jorgo catch Eddie's eye as he drafts first Wallabies team, but there's a rebuke for Rory Arnold

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5th March, 2023
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Perhaps it was his stunning afternoon at AAMI Park, but Tom Lynagh has pencilled his name into Eddie Jones’ World Cup calculations.

The 19-year-old was one of two teenagers pencilled into Jones’ draft April Wallabies training squad.

The other teenager? Max Jorgensen – the 18-year-old sensation, who like Lynagh has been superb since making his debut less than a fortnight ago.

Jones, who spent the weekend watching Super Round in the public along fans, was captured by one eagle-eyed fan at AAMI Park scribbling down his plans for his first training camp as the Wallabies’ new coach and uploaded the list on Twitter. The photo has since been deleted, with former Wallaby Ben Darwin tweeting his concern over the invasion of privacy.

Photo via Twitter

“At minimum it’s private, at worst it’s giving away information to other teams,” he wrote.


While the lists gave an insight into Jones’ thinking, it’s worth noting that only two rounds of the Super Rugby season have been completed and much will change before the April 17 camp.

Former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and his coaching team used to pick a new Wallabies XV every week based on the performances in Super Rugby as a guide to measure what they were thinking, too.

Lynagh, who faced a baptism of fire last week during a second-half onslaught against the Hurricanes, is evidently the big winner.

The son of Wallabies legend Michael, Lynagh led the Reds to a crushing 71-20 victory over the Force.

During his 68-minute performance, the playmaker kicked well, put Suliasi Vunivalu through a lovely hole and even made a brilliant try-saving tackle on Force centre Bayley Kuenzle.

If he is included in a wider training squad, Lynagh would be long odds to make a debut this year given his inexperience.


England playmaker Marcus Smith was invited into a camp in 2017, but the rising star didn’t make his debut under Jones until 2021.

It’s more than likely that Jones wants to see Lynagh, who was included alongside Waratahs utility Ben Donaldson in a second side, first-hand before jumping to any conclusions.

Jorgensen, 18, was pencilled in on the wing after two outstanding performances against the Brumbies and Fiji.

The rising Waratahs star scored two excellent tries against the Brumbies and backed it up against Fiji, scoring a simple try but coming through the physical test against the Drua well.

Back-row teammate Langi Gleeson, who made his starting debut against Wales last November after a breakout season, was also included at No.8 in the first side. Gleeson was the Waratahs’ best against the Drua.

Suliasi Vunialu, who had a promising match against the Force where he built into the game and scored a length of the field try before scarring observers as he pulled up lame because of cramp, was also included.


No injured players were written down, with Angus Bell and Taniela Tupou notable omissions. While no foreign players, including Quade Cooper, were included either.

The first team read as follow: James Slipper, Dave Porecki, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper, Langi Gleeson, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Mark Nawaqanitawse, Lalakai Foketi, Len Ikitau, Max Jorgensen, Tom Wright.

The second side: Tom Robertson, Folau Fainga’a, Pone Fa’amausili, Jed Holloway, Nick Frost, Pete Samu/Liam Wright, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, Ben Donaldson/Tom Lynagh, Suliasi Vunivalu and Reece Hodge. The rest of the names were obscured by Jones’ hand.

The intriguing lists came after Jones earlier appeared on the ABC’s Offsiders program, where he touched on a number of subjects his coaching assistants, the departure of Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar, Australia’s performances against their New Zealand rivals, the captaincy and Rory Arnold’s future after the suspension of his Japanese club.

Jones also appeared to signal Quade Cooper as his preferred No.10, before walking it back slightly.

Jones revealed he met with Cooper recently in Brisbane and he said he was excited for him to return to Japan to resume playing with Kintetsu, having missed the past eight months because of an Achilles injury sustained during his sole appearance for the Wallabies last year.

Quade Cooper during an Australian Wallabies training camp at Sanctuary Cove on January 12, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)


“He’s recovering well. I had a quick chat in Brisbane. He looked full of beans,” Jones told Offsiders.

“He’s going back to play for his club in Japan, Kintetsu, who aren’t doing too well. They haven’t won a game, so they need a bit of Quade magic. So to get his confidence back, get them to win a few games and we’ll see where he can take us.”

Pressed on the No.10 jersey, Jones said the Springboks’ World Cup success had broken all the rules and he wouldn’t be guided by history.

“In 2019, before Rassie [Erasmus] took over South Africa in 2018, they were winning less than 40 per cent of their games. No team has won the World Cup losing a game before South Africa, so there’s the opportunity to do different things,” he said.

“We’ll need to have three 10s at the World Cup. Quade could be one of them, could be one of them, and the other two spots are wide open.”

The news may well not be as good for Cooper’s Japanese colleague Rory Arnold, whose side have been suspended for the rest of the League One season.

It means the towering lock, who played a key role in the Wallabies’ 2019 World Cup campaign, won’t have any game time before the Test window to press his claims. It is also believed he won’t look to sign a short-term deal in Australia, with his million-dollar deal in Japan too big a risk to jeopardize.


“Well, he didn’t come on the November tour, so he made his decision not to play for Australia on the November tour by his own volition,” Jones said.

“At the moment, players who do that aren’t in our (plans) because we want players who want to play for the Wallabies. That’s just common sense. And if he rings up and says he wants to play for the Wallabies, then we’ll have a chat to him.”

Rory Arnold of the Wallabies looks on

Rory Arnold. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

On the captaincy, Jones left the door wide open and revealed Michael Hooper could well lead the Wallabies at the World Cup.

“We’re deciding that now,” Jones said. “And part of it is meeting the senior players, part of it’s creating a new leadership group. What do we need to do now?”

Pressed on whether Hooper was firmly in the conversation, Jones said he was.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said three times.


“There’s probably three or four really good options there and we’ll work out what it is. But at the end of the day, Australia had three captains last year. We had four with England and with HIA and 12 days out now [under World Rugby’s mandatory stand down period for concussions], we’re going to need a leadership group that has more than one captain.

“I think the old day of having one captain is almost redundant. I think you have to have a number of people who could do the job, so that’s what we’re really trying to create.”

As for McKellar’s decision to leave Australian rugby to take on the head coaching role with Leicester, Jones said the Wallabies needed a coaching group that was firmly committed while adding that the former Brumbies coach’s departure wasn’t a blow.

“No, no, we want people who want to be in the system,” he said.

“We don’t want people who want to be their own head coach, there’s only one head coach. So we need guys who want to be good assistants now, so as good a coach as Dan is, we wish him all the best, but we’ve moved on.”

With all five Australian Super Rugby sides in Melbourne over the weekend, Jones met with a large number of the playing group.

The returning Wallabies coach once again reiterated his belief that Australian rugby had the playing pool to win the World Cup.


“They’re ready to go,” he said.

“I sense a good look in their eyes. They want to achieve something with this team. They know they’ve got the talent. They know they’ve got the talent.

“At the end of the day, the New Zealand sides, you watch those games yesterday, it’s not about talent. It’s about your ability to keep fighting, keep on the same page, when you’re under pressure keep doing the same thing, and that’s the hard thing about sport. That’s the hard thing.”