Wednesday 13 November 2019

You've got to admire his balls - Ronan O'Gara on JJ Hanrahan's Northampton move

JJ Hanrahan
JJ Hanrahan

Cormac Byrne

Ronan O'Gara has praised the courage of JJ Hanrahan after the 22-year-old flyhalf chose to join Northampton next season rather than stay on with Munster.

Speculation linking the talented number 10 with a move to the Saints had been strong in recent weeks and was confirmed yesterday.

The Kerry native will now take on Stephen Myler from next season for a starting berth with the reigning English champions.

Speaking on Game On on 2FM this evening, Ronan O'Gara said that Hanrahan had not moved for financial reasons and that he needed to back himself, something that the Racing Metro assistant coach is impressed with.

"It has nothing to do with money, it's a pure rugby decision. He feels at the minute that Foley has placed his faith in Ian Keatley and he doesn't see that changing in the next 6-18 month period," he said.

"His vision is to surpass Myler in the Northampton team and look good in a good team. It's obviously a bit risky but he backing himself and then  hopefully in two years time, when  he's proven and, in his eyes, he's pushing Jonny Sexton with Ireland, he could return to Munster again.

"Believe me, Munster did everything and JJ appreciated everything Munster did but in this case it is a pure rugby decision.

"Say what you want but you've got to admire the balls of the young fella, no one has done it before.

"He is a little bit special and the people who think a little bit different, have to be treated a little bit special."

Despite understanding Hanrahan's reasoning, O'Gara still believes that a player of his talent should not have been allowed to move from Thomond Park.

"These are the players that need to be driving Munster, he's a local boy," he added.

"It hurts people because people care about it. They care about the team.

"It shouldn't happen but it has."

Munster are understood to be lining up Australia centre Rob Horne as a possible replacement for Hanrahan.

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