Ireland: Mack Hansen ready to face the Wallabies for the first time

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Star wing Mack Hansen has reflected on his decision to leave Australia to move to Ireland and commit to the Irish national team.

Hansen was born in Australia and even represented the country at U20 level before Connacht boss Andy Friend coaxed the speedster to make a move to Ireland.

In no time, the wing has established himself in the Irish set-up this year, becoming one of the key exponents on attack for Andy Farrell’s men.

Nomination

The 24-year-old’s form and impact at Test level was recognised with a nomination for World Rugby’s breakthrough player of the year award.

However, this weekend will be the first time he plays against his country of birth, and he is not sure what to expect when the anthems roll on.

“I guess it’s just something I’ll have to experience when it happens,” he said.

“I’m not sure. I haven’t thought about it too much. I’m still trying to learn the Irish one. If the camera can get to me at the start… I sing from the start and then just kind of fade away at the end. So, if any cameraman is reading this article, film me at the very start when I’m absolutely singing the thing.”

Hansen is delighted with his decision to move to Ireland and he represents the country without any regrets.

“Since I made my decision there have been no thoughts of back tracking at all,” he added. “I’m very happy where I am. I guess you could think what would have been with anything, so no the decision to play for Ireland has been the best decision of my career and my life.

“I’m just going to take it like any other game. If I buy into the story too much and make myself bigger than the game, that’s when things are just going to go wrong. I’m part of an unbelievable Irish team that’s playing good footy… it’s going to be interesting going up against some of my old pals but yeah, it’s just another game. I’m going to treat it that way as well.”

Natural game

Hansen is grateful for the trust his coaches in the Ireland set-up have given him and believes it allows him to play his natural game.

“I like to think I’m a pretty heads-up player,” he said. “Andy [Farrell] and Mike [Catt] and all coaches and players have given me such a license to play my game. They are big believers in that if you see something go for it you know.

“Just because you have a number on your back it doesn’t mean you are held down to that position. The way we play and the way everybody just connects with each other, it makes it so much easier to go out there and play footy.”

READ MORE: Australia: Nic White says Wallabies must ‘step up’ for Dave Rennie

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