CASTLEFORD TIGERS will benefit from Luke Gale’s England omission, Andy Lynch reckons.
Gale was called into the England squad for the recent Test series against New Zealand, after an outstanding campaign which culminated in him being named in the First Utility Super League Dream Team.
But the Leeds-born scrum-half had to watch all four Tests – including a one-off clash with France – from the sidelines after coach Steve McNamara preferred Wigan’s George Williams and then clubmate Matty Smith – in the No 7 role.
Front-rower Lynch admitted he was disappointed for Gale, but believes the experience will make him stronger next term.
“I was disappointed,” Lynch said. “I thought Galey came on leaps and bounds last season.
“He has got to be disappointed, but I think that can be his motivation for this year.
“He will be a better person for the experience of being in the England camp.
“He can bring what he learned into us and hopefully he gets a good crack next year.”
Lynch is confident Gale’s partnership with stand-off Ben Roberts will continue to improve after a promising first season.
“Ben is willing to learn as well,” he said.
“If we can get them behind a good forward pack, I think we can be devastating – so it is a bit of pressure on us.”
Lynch celebrated his 36th birthday a month ago and is now in his 18th pre-season, but insisted he has no intention of calling it a day when his Tigers contract expires next autumn.
“I don’t think it will be my last year,” he revealed.
“I will keep going, I think. I have got one more year on my contract, but all being well I will be going around again after next year.”
Lynch will be one of the oldest players in the competition in 2016, but he stressed: “I am feeling great.
“Pre-season is when you find out (if you still want to do it).
“I still get up excited about training. It is always good to have competition from all the young lads coming in.
“Once they start beating me I will retire, but at the moment I am not doing too bad.”
Tigers’ players are doing it tough in pre-season, but Lynch predicted that will pay dividends once the action starts.
“It is hard work that has got to be done,” he said.
“If we want to improve as a team next year we have got to go above and beyond to get better.
“We are doing tough stuff in pre-season to try and help us get through games.
“What we do now stands us in good stead. The conditioning team are throwing stuff in there to try and shock us.
“It is just like in games really, if things don’t go right in games, it is how you react (that counts).
“What you do in pre-season – in the gym or running up hills – is going to transfer to game day.”
Meanwhile, back-rower Matt Cook, who joined Tigers from London Broncos ahead of last season on a two-year deal, has signed a new contract keeping him at the club until the end of 2017.