Saturday 17 February 2018

Hagan looks back on track

TIGHT-HEAD props remain the most valuable commodity in Irish rugby, with Mike Ross' well-being central to Ireland's Six Nations aspirations, WRITES HUGH FARRELLY.

Which is why it is good to see that Jamie Hagan's career has taken a turn for the better this week.

Hagan's performances with Connacht last season made him a genuine contender for World Cup inclusion, despite his lack of experience, but he failed to make the squad. And his decision to return to his native province seemed to work against him as he struggled for game time as third-choice behind Ross and Nathan White.

However, his display against the Scarlets last week was encouraging and the news that New Zealander White, an accomplished, rugged operator, is joining Connacht provides the westerners with a quality tight-head as well as opening a path to the future for Hagan.

It was good then to see the Balbriggan man called into the Ireland camp to help out with scrummaging before this weekend's clash with Italy.

It will surely build confidence in the prop to know he is on Declan Kidney's radar and, after a difficult few months, Hagan looks to be heading in the right direction again.

Irish Independent

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