Mack Hansen’s debut test start against Wales this Saturday is just reward for his form in the United Rugby Championship. He will no doubt be eager to convert his brilliant form to the test arena in front of his home crowd in Dublin.
Hansen made his professional debut in Australia with the Brumbies before making the move to Ireland in 2021. That move is proving to be a career altering one as Hansen has been in scintillating form for Connacht this season. He leads the United Rugby Championship in defenders beaten (38), metres gained (556) and tries (6) as well as being second in clean breaks with (11).
The 23-year-old winger will no doubt be looking to hold his own against the more experienced Welshman Johnny McNichol, who has been named on the right wing for Wales. Club rugby form does not always transfer to the test arena, given the reduction in time and space players are afforded at the highest level of the game. Nonetheless, it will be exciting to see how the young Irish winger handles the pressure he will no doubt be placed under by this Welsh team.
The Irish team named today, looks to be a very strong team on paper with significant experience (805 caps in their match day 23). They will want to make a strong start to the 2022 Six Nations against Wales on Saturday after finishing third in 2021.
The Ireland team: 15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Andrew Conway, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Mack Hansen, 10. Johnny Sexton (C), 9. Jamison Gibson Park, 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Ronan Kelleher, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Caelan Doris, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Jack Conan.
Reserves: 16. Dan Sheehan, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Ryan Baird, 20. Peter O’Mahony, 21. Conor Murray, 22. Joey Carbery, 23. James Hume.
The Welsh team: 15. Liam Williams, 14. Johnny McNicholl, 13. Josh Adams, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Louis Rees-Zammit, 10. Dan Biggar (C), 9. Tomos Williams, 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Ryan Elias, 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Will Rowlands, 5. Adam Beard, 6. Ellis Jenkins, 7. Taine Basham, 8. Aaron Wainwright.
Reserves: 16. Dewi Lake, 17. Gareth Thomas, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Seb Davies, 20. Ross Moriarty, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Callum Sheedy, 23. Owen Watkin.