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Coach Crowley keeping tabs on Lynagh and Lozowski

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Italy head coach Kieran Crowley looks on ahead of the autumn international rugby union Test match against New Zealand on November 6. AFP

Coach Crowley keeping tabs on Lynagh and Lozowski

Italy coach Kieran Crowley has spoken with English Premiership backs Louis Lynagh and Alex Lozowski about their potential availability for the Azzurri.

Harlequins wing Lynagh, yet to be capped, is eligible for three countries as the England-raised rising star’s father is Australia great Michael Lynagh, while the 21-year-old’s mother is Italian.

Saracens fly-half Lozowski, who has an Italian grandmother, could benefit from new World Rugby rules regarding international eligibility.

The 30-year-old won the last of his five England caps in November 2018, and could now switch countries as he has completed the required stand-down period of three years from Tests.

Former New Zealand fullback Crowley has also been in touch with Wasps wing Paolo Odogwu, whose father is of Italian descent, about the prospect of his potential selection.

“Paolo has been contacted, and the other two I have spoken to personally,” Crowley said at the Six Nations Championship virtual media launch on Wednesday.

“We have discussed it and they’ve made decisions at the moment that I respect 100 per cent and I support them 100 per cent. I will keep in contact with them.

“If they declared themselves available for Italy, certainly we would be looking at them. They are all quality players.”

Admitting there are many factors that will influence the players’ decisions, Crowley added: “You have got to talk to them around their desires. I have had conversations with them about their availability for Italy. Louis is also eligible for Australia. They have some decisions to make.

“They are playing for clubs in England and if they suddenly make themselves available for Italy, how does that affect their contractual status, which is their livelihood?”

Perennial strugglers Italy face a daunting start to this season’s Six Nations against France in Paris a week on Sunday before a home game against England.

Italy have not won a Six Nations match since 2015, when they beat Scotland 22-19 at Murrayfield.

Such a poor run of results has led to debates about whether Italy are worth a guaranteed Six Nations place.

There have been calls for the introduction of promotion and relegation to give the likes of Georgia a chance to compete in the Championship.

“The decisions around Italy being in the Six Nations, that’s board-talk and boards need to decide those sorts of things,” said Crowley, who took charge of the Azzurri in May.

“If I was giving a personal opinion, I would welcome a promotion and relegation system. Who is to say that anyone else would be any better than Italy in the Six Nations?”

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