JJ Hanrahan Comments On His Future & Ireland Aspirations
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JJ Hanrahan is set to take on Leinster tonight with Northampton but would he consider a move back home?
The former Junior World Player of the Year nominee left Munster back in 2015 in search of regular first-team rugby, but things haven’t quite gone according to plan. He’s enjoyed an indifferent time with Northampton, but starts at inside centre tomorrow, hoping to prove a point against Leinster.
The Kerry native only has a few month left to run on his current contract with the Premiership side, and has admitted he still has aspirations to play for Ireland. The IRFU still enforces a strict policy with overseas players, so a return home would be required if he hopes to line out in green in the future.
Would he be welcome back at Munster? Hanrahan remains a fan favourite with the southern province and while Tyler Bleyendall has been excellent this year, his fitness still remains a concern. Hanrahan’s contract is up in the summer but admits, nothing has been decided yet.
“Nothing has been decided yet to be honest. It’s all still up in the air. Usually (contract discussions) come around in January.
“I just have to get back playing first.”
Hanrahan admits his time with the Saints hasn’t gone to plan but still feels he has something to offer with the Premiership side.
“No, it hasn’t, being frank. I had a very staggered last year, very stop-start performance-wise but there’s definitely more to come from me and I can definitely add a lot more to this team.
“I was flying in pre-season, I’d one of the best pre-seasons I’d ever had and then to pick up an injury 20 minutes out before the season was pretty disheartening.
“But you pick yourself up, dust yourself off.
“I definitely have a lot of ambitions to play well for this club. I’ve high standards personally…I’m driven.”
The talented playmaker realises he can never play for Ireland as long as he is based overseas, but admits he’s willing to wait.
“I knew coming over to Northampton that I was going to kind of rule myself out of selection but there’s a longer-term plan in my own head that I’m trying to work towards and hopefully it comes to fruition later on in life.
“I’ve openly said before that I want to play for Ireland, but you have to get to that standard first and you have to be consistent.
“I’ve mentioned stuff about Ireland before and it’s been misconstrued. What I’m trying to do is become the best player I can be, so that if the Irish opportunity ever opens up in the future that then I’m able to take it with both hands. That’s not to say I should be there now, but if it ever opens up I want to be ready to do that.”
Do you think Hanrahan should consider a move back to Munster and the Rassie Erasmus project or is he better off trying to find his feet in England first?