Super Rugby: Tom Lynagh to start for Reds quarter-final

Tom Lynagh has won the battle for a fly-half spot in Queensland’s side in Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final against the Chiefs.

Lynagh, 21, came off the bench in the Reds’ 27-26 win over the Waratahs last week when Lawson Creighton was the preferred option in the No.10 jersey.

However, the son of Wallabies great Michael Lynagh has been recalled to Queensland’s starting squad, with Creighton having to settle for a place in the reserves for the clash in Hamilton.

“Tom’s finals experience last year is paying off for us,” Reds manager Les Kiss said.

“With Lawson off the bench, it’s a combination that has worked well for us this season.

“I’m very confident in the job they’re going to do.”

There is again no place in Queensland’s 23-man squad for another Reds stalwart, former Wallaby James O’Connor.

Former premiership-winning NRL winger Suliasi Vunivalo is also unable to return to Queensland’s matchday squad after being suspended against Fiji’s Drua last month.

Lynagh’s inclusion in Creighton’s account is one of four changes to the side that started with a one-point win over NSW at Allianz Stadium

The other three changes are in the forwards, where prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, lock Ryan Smith and no. 8 John Bryant replaces Zane Nonggor, Connor Vest and Joe Brial who all dropped to the bench.

“I’m very comfortable that if something happens, we have people who can come and help,” Kiss said.

“We have players who can turn up for those special moments that come in games like this.

“The final is exciting and a different beast. You have to love it.”

The Reds can make history on Friday by becoming the first Australian team to win a Super Rugby final on New Zealand soil.

“Winning in Hamilton will be a tough task. If we commit to playing our style we have a chance against a good Chiefs team,” said Kiss, who added the Reds could take confidence from their win over the Crusaders in Christchurch last month with 33-28 in the regular season.
“We have had some positive results against New Zealand teams this season. Of the three wins, one was crucial in Christchurch.

“Those experiences and what we’ve learned in close games will help us, but they don’t guarantee you anything.

“We’ve got to deal with the purple spot they’re going to have in the game and it’s going to take a massive collective effort.

“We want to be able to live up to what we tried to build this year and continue to build on that.”

Red: Alex Hodgman, Matt Faessler, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Seru Uru, Ryan Smith, Liam Wright, Fraser McReight, John Bryant, Tate McDermott, Tom Lynagh, Mac Grealy, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Tim Ryan, Jock Campbell. Bench: Josh Nasser, Sef Faagase, Zane Nonggorr, Connor Vest, Joe Brial, Kalani Thomas, Lawson Creighton. Taj Annan.

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