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Reds injury woes compound as Tom Lynagh in line for debut

By AAP
Tom Lynagh. (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

Injury concerns continue to bite the Queensland Reds ahead of their Super Rugby season opener, with key pair James O’Connor and Suliasi Vunivalu both unlikely to face the Hurricanes.

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The Reds are already without prop Taniela Tupou (Achilles) and have exhausted their options at lock with Luke Jones, Ryan Smith and Angus Blyth all suffering preseason injuries.

It’s understood five-eighth O’Connor and winger Vunivalu will join the list with lingering ankle issues and won’t play on Saturday in Townsville.

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The Reds are blessed with backline options to replace Vunivalu, but it’s a blow for his World Cup aspirations after two seasons of injury frustrations since switching codes.

The former NRL flyer is in the sights of new Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, despite being overlooked by his predecessor Dave Rennie.

Tom Lynagh, the son of World Cup winner Michael Lynagh, is in line for a Super Rugby debut in the No.10 ahead of Lawson Creighton, while Isaac Henry can also play five-eighth.

The Reds lost all six games to New Zealand opposition last season, halfback Tate McDermott identifying a key reason behind their horror finish to a campaign that began with promise.

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“The focus isn’t on beating Kiwi sides, it’s on improving our game and what we learnt from last year is (that we need to improve our) discipline,” he said.

“We were the most penalised team in the comp. That might get you into finals, but not deep.”

He also said assistant coach Jim McKay had shifted his focus to in-game kicking strategy, a weakness of the side last year but one aspect Lynagh has shown competence in during the preseason.

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