England could miss out on Harlequins starlet Louis Lynagh — son of Australia legend Michael — and would be powerless to stop the Wallabies or Italy moving in for him this autumn.
The winger, 20, is not expected to be included in Eddie Jones’ first squad of the summer, a 45-man group announced on Monday for a brief training camp next week.
So Australia or Italy could pinch Lynagh — who qualifies for both, and for England via his parents — as early as next month. Lynagh grew up in south London and has played for England Under 16, 18 and 19. Australia are considering relaxing their ‘Giteau Law’ which bans overseas players with fewer than 60 caps representing the Wallabies.
Australia and Italy enquired about Lynagh — who scored twice against Newcastle on Sunday — at the time of Quins’ Premiership title win in June, but England did not.
The RFU admitted they could lose him and other dual-qualified talents to the system. Asked if he was concerned about Lynagh’s allegiance, Conor O’Shea, the RFU’s director of performance said: ‘It is a fact of life. If not, other countries wouldn’t be doing their jobs. If we do our job properly, we get our pathway going.
‘We will still lose players, yes, but more people will have an attachment together — they grow up in little pockets, get bonds and experiences and that is quite difficult to split apart.
‘There are some players who will have a parental influence — whether it be a mother from Treviso or father from Australia, who is a bit of a legend — but Louis has come through the English system and it is great to see someone like him do well at Quins.’
Exeter No 8 Sam Simmonds could be in line for an England re-call today, the Lions tourist snubbed since 2018 by Jones, which could cast doubt on Billy Vunipola’s immediate Test future – who could be one of few established names to miss out, with Elliot Daly injured.