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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 29 September 2020

Aussie legend Michael Lynagh fears 3-0 series win for Lions

The former outhalf is awestruck by the sheer size of the touring squad.

Michael Lynagh is tackled by Philip Matthews at the 1991 World Cup.
Michael Lynagh is tackled by Philip Matthews at the 1991 World Cup.
Image: ©INPHO/Allsport

MICHAEL LYNAGH BROKE Irish hearts in 1991 when he scored a last-minute try to clinch a World Cup quarter-final victory for Australia.

Today, the former Wallaby outhalf, raised our spirits by admitting to talkSPORT that his compatriots could suffer a 3-0 series whitewash against the British and Irish Lions.

Lynagh, who played with the 1989 Australia side that lost their Lions series 2-1, expects Western Force to provide a stern test for Warren Gatland’s men tomorrow but is wary of the pace and power of the touring squad.

Asked if the Lions could achieve a whitewash, Lynagh replied, “I think so, yes. Australian teams in the Super 15 tournament have had quite a few injuries to key players such as Scott Higginbotham, Digby Ioane and a number of other players who would have appeared in the Test series.

“That’s hurt Australia and their problem is that they don’t have a huge amount of depth. The initial 20-odd players they’ve selected are strong but, as soon as you scratch the surface, they become a bit thin.” Lynagh added:

Having seen the Lions perform in Hong Kong, albeit against a weaker opposition, they are a very strong squad with lots of seasoned players…. physically big and, even as an Australian, I’m starting to get a little bit worried about the Test serious coming up. 3-0 is a possibility although my heart hopes not.”

Lynagh is fearful of the physicality of Lions such as captain Sam Warburton. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

The 1991 World Cup winner laments the fact that Australia did not arrange a warm-up game of their own before the First Test on 22 June. “I think the Lions will be better prepared,” he admitted.

Lynagh believes the Lions’ biggest test of their six warm-up matches will come this Saturday against Queensland Reds, led by Ewen McKenzie and featuring Quade Cooper at outhalf.

He commented, “Even though Cooper has his faults, he is a mercurial type of player and this is his chance to say ‘Look, I am available. I want to play and I’m the best No. 10 in the country’.”

* will be liveblogging all the Lions v Western Force action from 10:30am on Wednesday morning.

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Patrick McCarry

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