Mack Hansen believes Andy Farrell’s motivational skills are unrivaled and felt Ireland’s impressive Grand Slam success was on the cards as soon as he entered the international scene.
Australian-born winger Hansen was among a host of standout players in the green jersey during an unforgettable Guinness Six Nations that culminated in Dublin’s thrilling 29-16 win over England.
The 24-year-old, who only made his Test debut in last year’s Triple Crown-winning campaign after trading club Canberra’s Brumbies for Connacht in 2021, claimed three of his side’s 20 tries in the entire championship. .
His action-packed displays were a constant threat to opponents, while his entertaining media interviews also garnered much attention after he cursed on television after the third-round win in Italy, later claiming that “everyone hates to England” ahead of Saturday’s final.
Hansen paid tribute to Wigan-born head coach Farrell after the team endorsed his long-held belief that lifting significant trophies could be achieved.
“It wasn’t on my mind at all (when I moved to Ireland) but as soon as they put me in this team I knew it was something that could happen,” he said of the Six Nations victory.
“They are such good guys on the team, all the credit to the guys.
“All the coaches (deserve credit) but Andy, he can get you up for a game like no other. He just seems to say all the right things and also sounds cooler in his accent.
“Actually I don’t hate the English for anyone who saw that headline that went around! I’m just posting that, in case Andy saw it too.”
Hansen, whose mother hails from Cork, came to Galway as a self-proclaimed free spirit with a wanderlust and penchant for parties.
He has since secured a place on Ireland’s right flank, with the presence of New Zealand-born James Lowe on the left also helping to satisfy Farrell’s desire for “messy” wingers.
Ireland will quickly turn their attention to a chance for glory at the autumn World Cup in France.
Hansen insists the tournament is a “completely different beast” to the Six Nations and was determined to revel in the moment rather than look too far.
Speaking fieldside at a raucous Aviva Stadium, he said: “I’m going to find it very hard not to cuss this week, it’s unbelievable!
“And I think almost everyone in the stadium stayed to enjoy this with us, it’s absolutely amazing.
“I’m pretty much in party mode right now. The next thing I’m thinking about is having a few beers down my throat, enjoying tonight, enjoying tomorrow night, the night after.”
He continued: “It’s a great springboard, but we know the World Cup is a completely different beast to the Six Nations.
“France, unbeaten in France in God knows how long, they are going to be super tough. The All Blacks are back in full force, they are playing some great football.
“South Africa, Australia, all the teams that have come and played against us in the autumn or the Six Nations has been incredible, we know it’s going to be incredibly difficult, but that’s something we’ll think about another day.”
England’s quest to crash the St Patrick’s weekend party was badly damaged by the sending off of Freddie Steward just before half time after he elbowed Hugo Keenan in the head as he turned to avoid contact.
While he was happy to benefit from referee Jaco Peyper’s decision, Hansen was sympathetic to the opposition.
“It was super unfortunate,” he said. “And to lose someone like Freddie to them, he has arguably been their best player for two years.
“A big plus for us, no complaints here, but it was very, very unfortunate. He threw a wrench in the works, but fair game to them, they were around the whole time. It has been one of the toughest matches we have played in this tournament”.