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'He's probably sick to death of my voice on a Monday and Tuesday'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Harlequins boss Tabai Matson has highlighted how energising an experience training with England has been for Louis Lynagh – even though it has seen the uncapped winger only rejoin his club late in the week ahead of recent Gallagher Premiership defeats to Sale and Saracens. The 21-year-old was called up to the Guinness Six Nations squad at the start of matchweek one versus Scotland for two days training at Pennyhill and he spent a similar length of time with the Eddie Jones’ set-up last week ahead of the round game match away to Italy. 

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Lynagh was cut on both occasions when Jones pared down his England squad in midweek, leaving the youngster to return to Harlequins for a start against Sale and an appearance off the bench versus Saracens.

It is a difficult juggling act working with two different teams in the same week, but Harlequins senior coach Matson believes the in/out routine will only help Lynagh in the long run in a career that is only in his second season of senior rugby.   

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Lynagh has spent the full week this week at his club ahead of Saturday’s game at home to Wasps as he wasn’t included in the England squad of 25 Jones assembled in London for the Six Nations fallow week training. However, the England training that the rookie has done in recent Test match weeks has definitely rubbed off on him, according to his club coach. 

“What it has done for him is he has higher expectations for what he is doing when he gets here because international rugby is another step up around pressure, around skillsets around timing and all of that,” explained Matson. 

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“What he now knows is actually he understands that level of the game and he has high expectations of the way he should be training, how he should prepare and when he gets opportunities for Quins he knows that he needs to nail them because he is preparing himself for hopefully a long career at international level.”

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Looking specifically at the challenge of starting a week with England and finishing it with Harlequins, Matson added: “That can be really difficult especially if the systems and the focuses are different but in his case, not just because the wing is an easy place to play, it is actually really energising he goes in and joins the national team and is involved in a preparation for a Test match. 

“It is often really critical that early part of the week, a team is getting through its plays and they need extra to the 23 to make sure they are really accurate. Any time, especially a young player like Louis, is training at a level that has not necessarily more intent but has a real focus because of the pressure of international level which is where he is trying to get to, means when he comes back to Quins, I won’t say it is seamless but he is seamless. 

“It is only his second full year here so when he comes back it is like fitting into a glove and often, like last week because he was away early in the week, we just put him on the bench, he comes in and does his bit for 30 minutes and had a fantastic impact against Saracens. Probably one of our most impactful backs even in his 30 minutes. 

“For him, I won’t say it is a challenge but it is actually quite invigorating for him and he is probably sick to death of my voice on a Monday and Tuesday and Eddie’s Australian twang is nice to listen to on a Monday.”

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