Harlequins have confirmed wing Louis Lynagh will join URC side Benetton next season.
The 23-year-old son of Australia legend Michael Lynagh was born in Treviso when his father was playing for the club, and in Quins’ statement regarding his departure they have said the move will see him “pursue his international aspirations in Italy”.
It was believed he was not offered a new contract by Harlequins when the story was first broken by the Telegraph last week, despite him playing 14 times for the club this season and scoring a stunning try double off the bench in the recent Champions Cup victory over Ulster.
“It’s been a difficult decision to leave my boyhood club, but I feel the time is right for a new challenge in Italy,” said Lynagh. “I have loved my time at Quins and made lifelong friends, working with some of the best players, coaches, and staff, and achieving the ultimate Premiership success in 2021.
“I would like to thank all the Quins fans who have supported me over my career, it’s been amazing to play in front of a packed Stoop every week, and I can’t wait for a massive finish to our season.”
The former England U20 flyer was called up to the senior England training squad by former head coach Eddie Jones following his two-try display for Harlequins in their Premiership final comeback win over Exeter Chiefs in 2021, but never got a senior appearance.
Lynagh attracted interest from other Premiership and French clubs, but Benetton have been long-term admirers. Former Italy head coach Kieran Crowley had first sounded out Lynagh two years ago about the potential of representing the Azzurri.
Italy-bound: Louis Lynagh
PICTURE: Getty Images
Joining the club his father also played for puts him in contention for Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada with 17 Benetton players in the current Azzurri squad.
Lynagh’s brother Tom, 20, the former Harlequins academy fly-half, also left England to sign for the Queensland Reds last year.
“Louis has been a pleasure to work with and we have been proud to see him develop from our Academy to the first-team squad,” said Quins boss Billy Millard.
“He has certainly had some great moments in his short career to date and is a popular figure across the Club. His 2020/21 season in particular showcased his ability and try-scoring strength.
“We’re excited to watch his career develop further at Benetton and potentially for Italy. We wish him the very best as he seeks to build his career in Italy.”