Rugby News: ‘Dropped a bollock’ – Lynagh set for surprise move in international twist, Crusaders cop another blow
Louis Lynagh, the excellent Harlequins winger and former England under-20s star, is set to make a high-profile move to Benetton, paving the way to play for Italy and, perhaps, a World Cup berth in Australia in 2027.
The 23-year-old son of Wallabies legend Michael Lynagh, Louis was born in Treviso when his father was playing for the club, making him eligible to play for Australia, England and Italy.
But, having played for England at junior level as an outside back and later being called into Eddie Jones’ national squad, Lynagh looks set to turn his back on pursuing a career for the Red Roses by moving to Europe.
The latest development comes after Lynagh was reportedly not offered an extension by Harlequins.
Making the noise out of the London club all the more surprising is that Lynagh played a pivotal role in their stunning Premiership final victory over Exter Chiefs in 2021, where he scored a double.
That tryscoring form has continued, with the outside back scoring twice against Ulster last month.
Lynagh has attracted plenty of interest from Premiership and French clubs, while former Italy head coach Kieran Crowley first sounded out the outside back two years ago.
Should he join Benetton, he would be linking up with an Italian side on the rise in the United Rugby Championship, with 17 players currently featuring in new Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada’s Six Nations squad.
Lyangh’s younger brother, Tom, made a strong impression in his rookie season for the Queensland Reds last year.
The blonde-haired, baby-faced playmaker wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a Queensland and Australian great, by playing for the Reds.
CRUSADERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP DEFENCE TAKES ANOTHER HIT
New Crusaders coach Rob Penney has copped another blow ahead of the Super Rugby season, with high-profile recruit Leigh Halfpenny ruled out for up to four months.
The British and Irish Lions outside back injured his pectoral muscle against Munster last weekend.
It’s a cruel blow for Halfpenny, who made the move to the Crusaders after a decorated career for Wales.
It’s also another massive kick in the guts for new coach Penney, who was sacked early in his second season with the Waratahs in 2021, and has an almighty task stepping into the void left by Scott Robertson’s appointment as All Blacks coach.
“He will have surgery up here, and once he is ready to fly he will come back home and rehab in Christchurch,” assistant coach Tamati Ellison said in Bristol before the Crusaders play the Bears on Saturday morning NZT in a pre-season fixture.
“It is a real bummer for him. Especially having time here at the hotels and with the group. He is just really starting to open up, and get the best out of him.
“He will still help, even during his rehab period, around some of the kicking and the game-driving for a few of our younger boys. He has been great there, already.”
With Richie Mo’unga heading to Japan, the Crusaders were hoping Halfpenny’s experience would help ease the loss of the star playmaker.
The kings of Super Rugby are already without Braydon Ennor, while Fergus Burke, who was hoped to fill the void of Mo’unga, will also miss the opening couple of months of the season.
Rivez Reihana will wear the No.10 jersey against the Bears.