Australian rugby legend Michael Lynagh makes a full recovery from stroke
AUSTRALIAN rugby great Michael Lynagh is "very grateful" for the help he received which enabled him to make a good recovery from his recent stroke.
The former Wallabies fly-half, his country's record points scorer, spent two weeks in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital after suffering the stroke in April.
It cost him some of the vision in his left eye but the 48-year-old has otherwise made a full recovery and appeared on Sky Sports News this morning looking in excellent health.
"I'm very lucky," he told the station. "I think being relatively healthy and younger, it certainly helped in my recovery."
Reflecting on his experience, he added: "I've certainly learnt a lot about strokes and the recovery of them, and how it affects young people - and older people of course.
"I've become very involved in the Stroke Association and a number of other charities, both here and in Australia, and also the hospital in Australia which was fantastic for me.
"It's an illness that one needs to understand, and also understand the symptoms to try and help people when you see it happening, to get them to a hospital quickly.
"That's what happened to me and I'm very grateful."
Turning to rugby matters, Lynagh has had a first-hand view over the past 18 months of the development of one of the current breed of number 10s, Danny Cipriani.
The former Wasps star joined Super 15 side Melbourne Rebels after seeing his England career stall.
He has had a mixed time on the pitch for the expansion franchise, though, and has also been involved in a number of disciplinary issues.
Ahead of the 24-year-old's return to English rugby with Sale Sharks, Lynagh offered an assessment of his time down under.
"It's been very much an up-and-down time for him," he said.
"We've seen him do brilliant things on the rugby field and some not-so-brilliant things on the rugby field and off the rugby field.
"Him now coming back to England to try and play well for Sale and also get back in the England reckoning will be quite important for him.
"I think the rugby experience, and experience of a different culture and way of playing the game will be very educational and very good for him and I expect to see him come back a better player for it."
Going into a tense final week before the Super Rugby play-offs, Lynagh has tipped the Crusaders to win the title and provide further evidence of New Zealand's superiority in the world game.
The Canterbury side are led by All Blacks stars Richie McCaw and Dan Carter and Lynagh expects them to take the silverware despite their rivals' strong claims.
"I think the Stormers might (beat the Rebels) tomorrow and then because they'll be playing at home (in the play-offs), that's a big advantage," he said.
"The Brumbies have had a wonderful year but I just think they've reached their end, they've made the play-offs and they've got a good coach in Jake White but I don't know whether they've got the team.
"The Crusaders, for me, are a team that are playing very well at the right end of the season with very senior players such as McCaw and Carter involved, and Kieran Read playing very well.
"For me, it's still the Crusaders - I said that at the start of the year and I'll stick to that.
"All the New Zealand teams are playing at a level above everyone else.
"The Australian teams have struggled at times, the Brumbies apart, and the South Africa teams have been solid but the New Zealanders have been very strong and I think they're playing a brand of rugby that's better than any other country at the moment."