O'Mahony and Farrell defend "incredible character" Mack Hansen after discipline questions
"According to you, he’s been nothing but trouble."
Andy Farrell and Peter O'Mahony lit into reporters at a press briefing that followed Ireland announcing their team to play Tonga.
The Ireland head coach and his veteran back-row both stood up for Mack Hansen after some speculation, late last week, that the Connacht winger was left out of the World Cup opener, against Romania, for disciplinary issues. Assistant coach Mike Catt denied that was the case, last Friday, and Farrell launched into a reporter that he felt sparked the misplaced speculation by asking about it in a press conference.
"Was it you? Where the hell did that come from?!"
"Left out of the 23?" remarked Farrell. "No. Anyway, carry on... we wanted to give someone else a game, simple as that." As it turned out, Hansen was drafted into that match-day 23 after Robbie Henshaw pulled up with a hamstring complaint.
Peter O'Mahony backs "incredible" Mack Hansen
Not longer after Andy Farrell and Johnny Sexton exited the press conference dais, Peter O'Mahony and Mack Hansen followed for their round of media duties.
Hansen, according to The42, was asked again about him not being in Ireland's initial 23-man squad for the Romania game. Far from impressed, O'Mahony cut in:
"Did Andy not just answer a question about this a second ago?"
"According to you [the reporter that asked about Hansen], he’s been nothing but trouble,” O'Mahony then added. "He’s been a breath of fresh air. An incredible character, good person. We talk about it a lot, the squad that we have and how important that is to fit in and straight away we knew he was a top man.
"A character but above it all he’s an incredible athlete and one of the world’s best wingers at the moment, which is a great addition to add to the squad. But as I said, the overriding factor is that he’s a good person and he’s seamlessly fitted into our squad like everyone else has. He’s been great craic and you need characters like that.
"The beauty of the game of rugby is the different characters you get and we’d be lost without guys like this. Tours like this are made for being incredibly serious, and obviously our jobs and everything that goes with it, but the craic that fellas like this bring make it a great place to be."
While Ireland's press team tried to shut down any more questions on Hansen and squad selection, the winger was in good form.
"We had a five-minute tiff," he joked, "whatever and we’re fine now, so it’s all good."
Hansen has a few friends and family over from Australia, enjoying all the World Cup and France has to offer.
"It’s tough getting Snapchats of them smoking vapes and drinking beers at 12 in the morning while I’m trying to prepare for a game," he remarked, "but it’s good craic, it’s good fun to see and it will be good to catch up with them."
HOUSE OF RUGBY WITH PETER STRINGER & JOHNE MURPHY:
- Irish tourist spot named one of the top 10 most relaxing places in the world
- Andy Farrell makes big calls, and plenty of changes, for Tonga clash
- Bundee Aki shows another side of himself before reminding us all of his best qualities
- Roy Keane cracks jokes with Johnny Sexton and Andy Farrell at Ireland training camp
- Paul O'Connell on his most treasured jersey swap and toughest opponent
- Tommy Bowe backs Jack Crowley as World Cup 'deputy' to Johnny Sexton