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Wallaby Tom Lynagh impresses with ‘special’ debut cameo off the bench

By Finn Morton
Tom Lynagh of the Wallabies walks onto the field during the Wallabies Captain's Run at Allianz Stadium on July 05, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Two days out from Australia’s clash with Wales, coach Joe Schmidt described uncapped playmaker Tom Lynagh as “a cool customer.” Lynagh went on to debut in Wallaby gold and proved Schmidt right in the process with a clutch conversion late in the piece.

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There was a lot of interest in Lynagh’s upcoming debut with the Reds playmaker looking to follow in the footsteps of his famous father. Michael Lynagh is, after all, widely considered one of the greatest No. 10s in Australian rugby history.

But this was an opportunity for young Tom to forge his own legacy in Wallaby gold. When the flyhalf was called on to come off the bench against the Welsh in the 63rd minute, the Sydney crowd let out one of their biggest cheers of the night for a Queenslander.

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Lynagh ran out onto the field along with Reds teammate and halves partner Tate McDermott. The pair would end up playing a key role in the Wallabies’ 25-16 win, with Wales cutting the deficit down to just two points with 15 minutes to play.

Both Lynagh and McDermott needed to help close the game out and that’s what they did. The 21-year-old registered a try assist after passing the ball onto fullback Tom Wright, who sliced through the Welsh defensive line to score a stunning solo try.

Lynagh then stepped up about 10 metres in from touch and nailed a tough conversion. That extended the scores to beyond a converted try which all but ended Wales’ hopes of realistically clawing their way back into the lead.

“Yeah, pretty calm,” Lynagh reflected on Stan Sport when asked about the shot at goal.

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“I had a good couple of kicking sessions this last week so that gave me a lot of confidence going into it.”

Lynagh wasn’t the only debutant on Saturday evening at Allianz Stadium. Western Force captain Jeremy Williams and Reds centre Josh Flook were named in the starting side, and there were another five uncapped players in line to debut off the pine.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
3
3
Tries
1
2
Conversions
0
0
Drop Goals
0
130
Carries
104
3
Line Breaks
2
9
Turnovers Lost
19
7
Turnovers Won
3

Prop Isaac Kailea, lock Angus Blyth, backrower Charlie Cale and winger Dylan Pietsch all became Wallabies on the same night as Lynagh. It gave the players even more to celebrate after helping Australia go 1-0 on the year.

“Yeah it’s a pretty special moment, really,” Lynagh said. “Not just for myself but all the boys involved, whether it’s their first game of 100th.

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“Lots to take from that and we’ll go into next week.

“I just tried to stay calm and finish the game. Noah (Lolesio) and the rest of the boys put us in a good position to win that so it was my job to finish it off.”

But that’s only one match. The Wallabies will want to back that up when they take on Wales for the second and final time in the July series in Melbourne, followed up by an intriguing matchup with Georgia in Sydney.

The Australian players focused on recovery in Coogee on Sunday morning but will no doubt turn their focus to the upcoming clash with Cymru if they haven’t already. That second fixture will be played this coming Saturday at AAMI Park.

“A win is really important and it always is because that’s what you get judged on externally, but internally, I think just some of the moments that we did really well to earn the win, that’s what will be the focus for us building into Melbourne,” coach Joe Schmidt told reporters.

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“We have a few things that we’ve been working on that are maybe a little bit different to how teams have played in Super Rugby, so the adjustment time for that to become second nature is inevitably going to take time.

“Hopefully, it can take till Tuesday and we can be really good at it… it will develop over these next two weeks, hopefully, and we know how tough The Rugby Championship is.”

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Wonton 2 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 3 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

14 Go to comments
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