"Tommy Turbo" carries Lynagh name into Super Rugby Pacific Debut

Tom Lynagh has a far better nickname as “Tommy Turbo” than his famous father ever did and now we get to judge his silky teenage skills on the big stage. The 19-year-old Lynagh was today selected at No.10 in a huge call by the Queensland Reds for Saturday night’s clash against the Hurricanes in Townsville. It’s huge because he’s never started a first grade game and his undoubted promise has been careful developed in trials, a Colts premiership for University of Queensland and in the heavy contact of training. Coming just 24 hours after winger Max Jorgensen was given the starting nod for the NSW Waratahs, the exciting Gen Next vibe to Super Rugby Pacific is upon us. With due respect to the demands of playing on the wing, this son of a gun is the one in the hot seat as play director, backline voice and the passing oil to get his side rolling. With Wallaby James O’Connor not quite there after ankle surgery, the Reds could easily have gone with Lawson Creighton, who started at flyhalf for the second half of 2022. Instead, it’s Lynagh. He’s a smooth distributor but perhaps one of the giveaways is the Reds’ off-season focus on far smarter kicking in general play. He was the best and most natural kicker of the football in the squad the first moment he stepped onto Ballymore’s training field at 18 in late 2021. A strong recent trial against the Waratahs in Narrabri nailed it for the blond-haired son of Wallabies great Michael Lynagh, the 1991 Rugby World Cup hero. Lynagh senior never did shed the “Noddy” nickname he picked up during schooldays at Brisbane’s Gregory Terrace. Young Lynagh’s tag is a shameless copy of the “Tommy Turbo” handle worn by NRL star Tom Trbojevic. Teammates couldn't help themselves. Lynagh doesn’t have the same build at just 83kg but he’s swift when a gap opens. Lynagh said starting the trial in Narrabri was a major boost for confidence after making his three first grade appearances off the bench for University of Queensland last year. “I could take a lot from that game and the last few weeks of training in terms of confidence in my body,” Lynagh said after the Narrabri trial.  “Starting really helped me. It was a big step forward playing in that first 20 minutes (of more intense rugby) than the final 20 when everyone is tired. “I’d like to think I’m now physically ready for Super Rugby but it’s still about working hard.” 

Michael Lynagh on debut for Queensland at 18 in 1982

Father Michael made his debut for Queensland at 18 in 1982 when fresh out of school. He started at flyhalf against Kiwi side Wairarapa Bush at Ballymore with 14 Wallabies around him. Names like Andrew Slack and Stan Pilecki. Tom won’t quite have that buffer but having Wallabies halfback Tate McDermott inside him and Test backs Hunter Paisami and Jordan Petaia outside him is of great benefit. It’s reassuring to know that you can have a father passing on just the right words before a game even when he is thousands of kilometres away. A message popped up on his mobile phone from his dad before kick-off in Narrabri. “It was nice to see the message and replay the words over in my head during warm-ups,” Lynagh junior said. “The advice was pretty good too, ‘Do the simple things right and listen to the experience around you. Back the calls you make and positive body language’.” For Queensland rugby fans with long memories, they will be hoping to see just a flash of the old Lynagh magic in Townsville. All should be patient that debuts at the intense Super Rugby Pacific levels are tough and improvement is a process. Most are just happy with the comfort that a Lynagh is back steering the ship in Queensland. After being cleared to play after his shoulder knock in the trials, lock Ryan Smith expressed full faith in the young No.10.“Turbo is a really good kid. I think it was a bit of a shock coming in to train with the big boys (at the start of 2022) but he’s really stood up,” Smith said.“He’s passionate about Queensland and really keen to continue on that very famous Queensland and Australian name.“He’s pretty flashy with good skills and a hard worker.“A key point in our pre-season has been everyone knowing their detail and flow. We’ll try to make it as easy as possible for the young buck by laying the platform at scrums and lineouts and the discipline stuff to be in the right areas of the field.”REDS (1-15): Dane Zander, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Lopeti Faifua, Seru Uru, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (co-c), Tom Lynagh, Filipo Daugunu, Isaac Henry, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Jordan PetaiaRESERVES: Richie Asiata, Sef Fa'agase, Peni Ravai, Jake Upfield, Connor Anderson, Kalani Thomas, Lawson Creighton, Taj AnnanClick Here: Marco Reus Jersey Sale