Michael Patrick Thomas Lynagh
- 642Wallaby Number
Michael Lynagh was once described by the great Queensland and Australian coach Bob Templeton as “the best footballer we have ever produced”. He was a wonderfully gifted individual, an athletic and highly skilled fly half with immaculate handling who, as only the best players did, always appeared to have time and space on his side. He could sidestep, swerve, use a change of pace, ‘read’ a game and control a match like few others before him. Lynagh was cool and measured in every aspect of his rugby. He was also much more than a points scoring machine. A schoolboy prodigy at Gregory Terrace in both cricket and rugby Lynagh was literally whisked straight from the 1981-82 Australian Schools’ team into the senior Queensland side as the successor to Paul McLean. In 1983 he went on his first Wallaby tour, to Italy and France.
In 1984 the new national coach Alan Jones bit the bullet and picked Lynagh at No.12. The experiment of a second fly half was an immediate success and the Mark Ella, Lynagh, Andrew Slack troika featured as the key unit in delivering Australia a first ever Grand Slam. When Ella retired Lynagh slotted seamlessly into the No.10 jersey and comfortably wore the mantle of the world’s premier fly half for a decade. During that illustrious reign he won a Rugby World Cup and captained his country.
One of his more memorable moments came in the 1991 World Cup quarter-final against Ireland. When Nick Farr-Jones hobbled to the sideline injured after just 16 minutes Lynagh assumed the captaincy and it was his cool head that saved Australia’s day. After Irish flanker Gordon Hamilton scored a try with just five minutes left on the clock to edge his side ahead 16-15, Lynagh spoke to his players and told them to remain calm as a win was still within their reach. From the ensuing kick-off the play found its way into the Ireland quarter and a scrum was set ten yards out from the try line. Lynagh called the play. Australia won their ball and moved it through the hands until Jason Little on the double around outside Marty Roebuck, found David Campese who stepped inside Jack Clarke and in the despairing tackle of David Curtis popped a pass that Lynagh picked off his toes to drive over the line for the winning try.
Two weeks later he was a World Champion. Michael Lynagh played 72 Tests for Australia, 15 as captain, in a 12-year international career. When he retired after the 1995 Rugby World Cup he did so as the highest points scorer of all-time (911). The following year Lynagh was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for ‘service to Rugby Union football’, in 2013 he was inducted into the Wallaby Hall of Fame and in 2014 he was named into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Represented Australian Schools against Ireland Schools, Scotland Schools and Welsh Youth.
Represented Australian U21s against Fiji U21 (47-4) at Ballymore and New Zealand U21 (36-12) at the S.C.G.
Represented Australian U21s when they defeated New Zealand U21s 26-18 at Pukekohe.
Lynagh won his first Test cap at inside centre and outside Mark Ella in the 16-3, one-off Test victory over Fiji in Suva. Michael Hawker assumed the No.12 jumper for the three Test Bledisloe Cup series however Lynagh was selected on the Wallaby tour to the U.K. and Ireland where he would start all four internationals in partnership with captain Andrew Slack. He scored his first Test try in the 19-3 win against England at Twickenham. Lynagh scored 21 points (3C, 5PG) in the 37-12 defeat of Scotland to equal the Australian individual points record held by Paul McLean (1975 1st Test vs. Japan and 1982 2nd Test vs. Scotland). Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
With Mark Ella retired Lynagh assumed to the No.10 jumper for the first three Tests of the year against Canada (2) and New Zealand however a knee injury saw him ruled out of the home series against Fiji. In the 1st Test, 55-3 defeat of Canada in Sydney Lynagh set a new Australian individual points scoring record of 23 points (7C, 3PG) to break the record of 21 he shared with Paul McLean. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
Lynagh partnered with Nick Farr-Jones in all seven Wallaby Tests. He became the second Australian to score 100 career Test match points in the 1st Test 39-18 victory over Italy in Brisbane. In the one-off, 27-14 defeat of France in Sydney Lynagh equalled his own Australian individual points scoring record in a Test match with 23 points (1C, 6PG, 1DG). Two weeks later in the 1st Test 39-19 win against Argentina Lynagh again equalled his own Australian individual points scoring record in a Test match with 23 points (4C; 5PG). Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
He won eight caps and selection to his first Rugby World Cup where he started all six Australian matches. In the semi-final loss to France Lynagh surpassed the Australian individual career Test match points scoring record of Paul McLean (260 points from 1974-1982). With tour captain Simon Poidevin injured Lynagh became the 62nd Wallaby to captain his country in the 2nd Test, 19-27 loss to Argentina in Buenos Aires. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
Lynagh played in seven of the eight Wallaby Tests, six at No.10, but missed the 2nd Test against New Zealand due to a badly corked right thigh. Lynagh equalled his own Australian individual points scoring record in a Test match of 23 points in the 55-6 defeat of Italy in Roma. Captained Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
Farr-Jones and Lynagh were the halves combination in all six Wallaby Tests. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
Lynagh started all seven Tests at No.10 and in the 2nd Test, 48-31 victory over France in Brisbane he set a new Australian individual points scoring record in a Test match of 24 points (6C, 4PG). He surpassed 500 career Test match points in the 3rd Test, 19-28 loss to France in Sydney. In the 67-9 triumph over the U.S.A. at Ballymore Lynagh equalled his own Australian individual points scoring record in a Test match of 24 points (2T, 8C).
Lynagh played fly half in all ten Wallaby internationals. He was selected to his second Rugby World Cup and captained the side in the 38-3 pool game victory over Wales in Cardiff.
He was capped in seven of the eight Tests of 1992. When Farr-Jones retired after the tour of South Africa Lynagh was appointed captain for the end-of-season tour to the U.K. but badly dislocated his shoulder against Ireland in Dublin to miss the final international with Wales.
Lynagh captained Australia in the opening Test of the season against Tonga however he then missed the one-off Bledisloe Cup match and the home series against South Africa after he contracted peritonitis.He returned for the end-of-season tour to North America and France and led the team in the three Tests against Canada and France (2).
He played in the first three tests of the year against Ireland (2) and Italy however a torn quadricep saw him miss the rest of the Test season.
Lynagh led Australia in the two-Test home series against Argentina and set a new Australian individual points scoring record in a Test match of 28 points (2T, 3C, 4PG) in the 1st Test 53-7 win in Brisbane. He was selected as captain to what was his third Rugby World Cup and announced his retirement following the quarter-final loss to England.