How Lynagh won Reds' flyhalf race for Tahs Round 1 blockbuster

Fri, Feb 23, 2024, 4:00 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

Reds coach Les Kiss and co-captain Tate McDermott have backed Tom Lynagh's kicking prowess to steer them Queensland home in their Super Rugby Pacific opener against New South Wales.

Lynagh's selection came as a shock to many with young gun Harry McLaughlin-Phillips and the versatile Lawson Creighton occupying the #10 jersey for much of Queensland's pre-season.

Check out our full Super Rugby Pacific Round 1 Preview here.

However the 22-year-old's kicking prowess and a second-half trial stint against the Tahs showed enough to cement a starting role on Saturday with McLaughlin-Phillips offering cover off the pine and Creighton set to lead a Reds development team against Eastern Suburbs at Ballymore.

"I think Tom's had that little bit of experience from last year and it probably tipped the scales (his) way … and that kicking game's going to be important," Kiss said.

"Harry's done well, Harry's stepped up to every challenge that's been put in his way so as I've said always, I've got good options.

"It was tough on Lawso because he's so reliable in terms of turning up for training and helping the team in a generous way … but he'll take it in a good way. He's a good team man and this isn't a finite ending to anything.

McDermott said competition for spots was at an all-time high ahead of their Super Rugby Pacific opener.

"(Tom) will get good minutes, as will Harry McLaughlin-Phillips from the bench for his Queensland (Super Rugby Pacific) debut so yeah, it's an exciting time for young 10s in Queensland."

"Me and Tommy played a little bit of footy together last year and he's an exciting player. He's got a really good kicking game on him and he's really composed for a young fella so I'm looking forward to partnering with him."

The Reds have named a familiar forward pack to tackle NSW, however the in-form Jock Campbell has missed a starting berth with Mac Grealy's selection on the wing alongside Suliasi Vunivalu and fullback Jordan Petaia.

"He understands the style and the plan we have. I thought in the game in Roma he came up with two or three key plays for us … and he deserves that opportunity," Kiss said of Grealy.

"Jock really came to life in that (trial) game, Jordy I thought against the Force had some really good moments too so it was a tough one."

Meanwhile a neck injury to Wallaby Lalakai Foketi has seen the Waratahs move fullback Joey Walton to partner Izaia Perese in the centres.

The shift sees Max Jorgensen return to the starting NSW back three with Dylan Pietsch and Mark Nawaqanitawase on the wings and Jack Bowen joining the bench.

Get your tickets to Saturday night's Round 1 clash between Queensland and New South Wales here!

Jordan Petaia to miss remaining Super Rugby Pacific season following shoulder injury
"Humbled" Reds to honour Anzac family ties as coach calls for annual clash
Praise for "grittier" Reds as eyes turn to Blues Anzac blockbuster
Five things we learnt from Reds - Highlanders