Connect with us

Rugby League News

Long Read Interview: Andy Lynch

Andy Lynch is six seasons removed from the game but even in 20 years or more he’ll still be remembered given his incredible longevity at the highest level.

Lynch finished his career in 2017 just two games shy of Kevin Sinfield for the most ever Super League appearances with 452, a figure that’s since been eclipsed by Saints’ skipper James Roby who sits on 468.

The former Castleford, Bradford and Hull FC man will have dished out and copped some knocks during his time, something he put down to a case of ‘swings and roundabouts’.

He spoke to Serious About Rugby League regarding the current concussion debate in the backdrop of a lawsuit against the RFL.

Addressing the ongoing lawsuit, which he confirmed he isn’t part of, he stated: “Everybody is different and has different reasons but it’s something that you rarely ever think about. I never thought about it when I played, it’s just part and parcel of the game.

“You knew what you were getting into but that said the guys who are doing it, I don’t know who they are, but it’s each to their own. They’ve got a reason for doing it. To me, I just knew it came with the game. You’re doing something for 20 years that you love doing so you can’t go wrong with that.”

Speaking about the game as a whole at present in the Northern Hemisphere, Lynch, who now lives in Australia, believes it’s important England build on the success of the recent World Cup on home soil.

It was a tournament that brought about some fantastic matches, with England impressing throughout the tournament with a new-look team that included the likes of starlets Dom Young, Herbie Farnworth and Jack Welsby.

However, after Shaun Wane’s team suffered an agonising semi-final defeat to Samoa, there have been calls for the former Wigan head coach to be relieved of his duties and let someone else take the national team forward into the future.

Despite this and the building speculation, one man who believes Wane is still the man for the job is former England international and Super League legend Lynch.

Lynch represented England on four occasions and Great Britain once in a career that spanned almost 20 years, and the former Castleford, Bradford and Hull man has called for Wane to keep his job.

“For me when you ask ‘does Shaun Wane stay or does Shaun Wane go’, there’s only one answer and he’s got to stay,” Lynch stated.

“I just think that the way he coaches teams, his record in general coaching, the way he is as a bloke. He’s straight up and tells you how it is. You find with some coaches they’re great at position specifics but some can’t man manage. He’s probably one of a few that I personally think is a complete coach.

“For me, 100% Shaun should stay and remain as England coach, just the way he is. He’s someone I really admire with the way he played and the way he coaches as well.”

Lynch also went on to comment about the nature of how the media and fans only use coaches as scapegoats when things are going wrong, citing Brian McDermott’s 2017 Grand Final victory, against Lynch’s Tigers, in contrast to his sacking less than a year later.

“Who spoke about the coach when Leeds lifted that trophy (2017 Grand Final), there was no say on how good that coach was. It was all about that Leeds team but when they’re going bad it’s the coach that gets the blame.

“For me I am 100 percent sure that Shaun Wane will have done all the work, he’ll have got everything right, he’ll have got them prepared right and as soon as the players step onto the field it’s down to them to perform.”

Lynch believes England have suffered because Super League clubs continue to sign aging overseas players rather than develop their academies and bring through more youngsters into the first team.

The former Castleford prop is under no illusions that things at both the top and bottom of the game in England need to improve, calling for more investment in the grassroots and for Super League clubs to build up from the solid foundations of their academies.

“Teams want the short term fix, the majority don’t look long term,” Lynch told Serious About Rugby League.

“You’ve got to invest in youth, that’s massive I think. Maybe not for now or this year or next year but if you invest in the youth correctly and put systems in place then three, five, six years time you’ve got a teams of fully developed and majority homegrown players.

“And the quality will be there, you won’t have to go and buy Australians at the back end of their career. You can afford to buy top quality Australians come over to help these homegrown players grow and progress.”

Lynch was keen to highlight that Saints were a prime example and their rival for the World Club Challenge, Penrith Panthers, have been doing the exact same hence their patch of dominance right now.

“Penrith’s youth system is unbelievable, Saints have got the same system bringing the young kids through and it’s paying the rewards now.”

Super League clubs are now investing in their academies and so hopefully we can reach an era where plenty of teams all have first team rosters stocked full of academy talent, but Lynch also addressed that the problem or at least the cure for the problem sits further down the ladder.

“Does it come down to grassroots rugby league, all Super League teams down to National League have they got to do a bit more in the community to get their players out there, promote the game and get the kids hooked on the game.

“Get to the schools and to the local amateur clubs handing free tickets out and get kids playing again and enjoying playing rugby league and then hopefully a fan base might come from that. Invite teams down just twice a year, all the little things add up like that.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Rugby League News