Louis Lynagh, the Harlequins wing and former England Under-20s player, is set to join Benetton next season, raising the prospect of pursuing an international career with Italy.
The 23-year-old son of Australia legend Michael Lynagh was born in Treviso when his father was playing for the club, making him eligible for England, Australia and Italy.
Having played for all the English age-grade sides, Lynagh was called up to the senior England training squad by former head coach Eddie Jones following his stunning two-try display for Harlequins in their dramatic Premiership final victory over Exeter Chiefs in 2021.
However, it seems his hopes of playing for England have all but been dashed as it is understood he has not been offered a new contract by Harlequins, despite playing 14 times for the club this season, including scoring a brace of tries in the Investec Champions’ Cup victory against Ulster last month.
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Lynagh attracted interest from other Premiership and French clubs, but Benetton have been long-term admirers and head coach Marco Bortolami is thought to have identified him as a key addition to his squad, who are currently second in the United Rugby Championship, for next season.
Former Italy head coach Kieran Crowley had first sounded out Lynagh two years ago about the potential of representing the Azzurri. Joining the club his father also played for would bring him firmly into the thoughts of current Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada as Benetton currently supply 17 players to the national squad.
Lynagh’s brother Tom, the former England and Harlequins academy fly-half, also left England to sign for the Queensland Reds last year, opening up the prospect of him playing for Australia.
It represented a meteoric rise for the then 17-year-old, who was educated at Epsom College and had been ear-marked as a future England international before he opted to return to the land of his father and attempt to carve out a professional career with the Reds.
Lynagh senior represented Australia in 72 Tests – 15 as captain in a 12-year international career that included a World Cup victory in 1991 as the Australian vice-captain. He also played 100 games for Queensland and captained the Reds in three seasons (1988, 1990-91) during his time at Ballymore.