Waratahs, Red Trainers count the crafting costs

They invariably go with Hooper. It is understandable. So unless Gamble requalifies as a blindside breakaway, it could be a frustrating super rugby campaign as he tries to make a case for World Cup selection.

Coleman has to balance his back row. A Specialist #8 shouldn’t be hard to find, not with hands up from Gleeson and Harris. He knows what he’ll get out of the sevens shirt – a great competitor, if perhaps not a ball eater to speak of. It’s the six-man kit that will haunt him. Maybe Jed Holloway? However, that would cause many new problems in the second row.

Is it any wonder Coleman chose the soft option for the first round?

He wasn’t the only one either…

Any reservations Reds coach Brad Thorn might have had about using No. 10 Tom Lynagh against the Hurricanes in Townsville was certainly allayed by his stance at the Tahs trial in Narrabri.

But instead of allowing the 19-year-old to defend himself in the line, as he had effectively done in the process, Thorn tried to protect him by hiding him at the back. It was more well-intentioned tinkering.

Lynagh’s shot on goal was stunning and he proved he was up to the task of directing the Reds’ attack – provided his narrow strikers win possession, which is a different issue altogether. He also showed his readiness in defence. The problem is that he weighs 78 kilograms, which is about 20 kilograms lighter than what Hurricanes flyer Billy Proctor threw at him as he thundered to the test line.

Tom Lynagh takes on the Highlanders.

Tom Lynagh takes on the Highlanders.Credit:Getty

Also, Lynagh was left to fend for himself. The Reds, who were so protective of him on offense, let him fend for himself on defense. He’s used to defending himself in traffic where he’s surrounded by back rowers willing to lend his shoulder. But in Townsville he had acres of unfamiliar space to himself. Tinker in Trouble.

Thorn’s mistake is common. Rennie made it when he picked Noah Lolesio for his Test debut against the All Blacks in 2020. He was pushed into the backfield for his own protection on defense – and the All Blacks went in search of him.


The Reds coach is dealing with a mountain of problems. Almost every part of the Queensland game collapsed in Townsville, which was more than a little ironic as the Reds had hoped the Hurricanes could boil over in the heat.

But a problem can take care of itself. Just tell the back rowers to keep a protective eye on him, but otherwise leave Lynagh alone.

Check out all the action from the Super Rugby Pacific stream ad-free, live and on-demand at every game Stan sports It starts on Friday February 17th.

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Ryan Sederquist

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