In-form Ireland wing Mack Hansen is looking forward to “going to war” against his native Australia and has no concerns about receiving on-field stick as the Wallabies squad “can’t sledge for s***”.
Canberra-born Hansen is poised to face his homeland for the first time during Saturday evening’s eagerly-anticipated clash in Dublin.
The former Australia Under-20 international, whose mother Diana hails from County Cork, says switching international allegiance is the best decision of his life.
He was this week nominated for World Rugby’s breakthrough player of the year award and is relishing the prospect of an unusual occasion against a host of familiar faces.
“Since I made my decision there have been no thoughts of backtracking at all,” said Hansen, who has scored three tries in eight caps. “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 loving it over here and enjoying it.
“It is still nice to hear from your peers and people back home but not once have I been upset or kind of thought ‘what if?’.”
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Asked about the prospect of enduring in-game taunts this weekend, he joked: “Ah, they can’t sledge for s***! Whitey (Nic White) will be chirpy like always but the rest of them aren’t very witty or smart!
“That’s what the whole game is about. It’s about going to war on the field and then afterwards just being able to have a laugh about it and be able to enjoy a quiet beer or two.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be really cool. I haven’t played any of these before and a lot of them are good friends of mine. It’s going to be a great experience.”
Hansen joined Connacht from Brumbies ahead of the 2021-22 season and was fast-tracked into the Ireland set-up by head coach Andy Farrell on the back of a string of fine performances at provincial level.
The 24-year-old made his Test debut against Wales at the start of this year’s Guinness Six Nations and is bidding for a hat-trick of tries this autumn following scores in the victories over Fiji and world champions South Africa.
While he has adapted seamlessly to Irish life, he concedes he will be more familiar with the opposition national anthem on Saturday, prompting a plea to television crews working at the game.
“I think the Irish and the Aussies are very similar people,” he said.
“It was an easy transition for me to come over here just because everyone gets on so well and everyone are just good mates.
“It wasn’t like coming into a new world at all. It was pretty spot on.”
Asked how he will feel during the anthems, he said: “I guess it’s just something I’ll have to experience when it happens. I’m not sure.
“I’m still trying to learn the Irish one. 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. He stopped on me for what felt like about 10 minutes last time and I didn’t know it towards the end.”