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'All up for grabs': Bulked up Lynagh gunning for Reds 10 jersey in four-way shootout

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29th January, 2024
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Tom Lynagh’s English accent is fading and in its place is a new-found mongrel he knows he’ll need as the race to wear the Queensland Reds’ No.10 intensifies.

The son of Wallabies great Michael is in his third pre-season at Ballymore, the Italian-born, England-raised playmaker taking brave steps to move back to Australia to join the Reds in 2011.

Still just 20, Lynagh took big strides under former coach Brad Thorn, earning plaudits for his kicking under pressure in a win and close loss to the Chiefs to finish the Super Rugby Pacific season.

But Thorn’s been replaced by Les Kiss this year, who says any of Lynagh, veteran James O’Connor, Lawson Creighton or Junior Wallabies graduate Harry McLaughlin-Phillips could wear the No.10.

Tom Lynagh wore the No.10 jersey in the Reds’ quarter-final loss to the Chiefs last year, but he’s in a fight to keep his starting spot under Les Kiss. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Adding another twist to that is Lynagh’s revelation to AAP that he’s carrying a minor back niggle that could keep him sidelined for pre-season trials against the Western Force and NSW Waratahs over the next fortnight.

Lynagh has poise, accuracy and composure like his World Cup-winning father but knows that might not be enough on its own to take ownership of a jersey.

“There’s plenty of choice at 10, it’s all up for grabs and nobody’s really sure what will happen,” he told AAP, the twang developed during his time at Surrey’s rugby institution Epsom College all-but gone.

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“Put your best foot forward and compete, which is something I’ve come to learn, to be a bit more competitive.”

Lynagh has bulked up since the Reds’ gutting quarter-final loss to the Chiefs and is excited by what Kiss will bring back from years coaching in Europe.

“I used to watch a lot of London Irish and liked how they played,” Lynagh said.

“The coaches believed in me last year, not for one second did I doubt I might struggle.

“But since that game I’d like to think I’m more robust, got a bit of armour on me.

“And the other parts (other than kicking); the running, taking it to the line, has all been fast-forwarded and developed by Les.

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“We’re all pretty excited to show people what we can do.”

AAP

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