Ireland wing stirred the pot ahead of the Grand Slam decider
The 24-year-old, who qualifies for Andy Farrell’s men courtesy of his Cork-born mother, has played a key role in putting Ireland on the cusp of a Grand Slam with only England to come on Super Saturday.
Hansen has won the Player of the Match award in the last two victories against Italy and Scotland. He has been virtually flawless this whole Six Nations, bar a comical slip-up when he swore on live TV when collecting his gong in Rome.
Read more: Ireland Six Nations squad to face England
And the Connacht star is one step away from joining an elite club of Irish Grand Slam winners, having only moved to the country in 2021.
He said: “I don’t know if I should say too much. There’s a fair bit of hatred, isn’t there? It’s good, though, because once the game is done they are good lads like everyone else.
“That shit happened . . . how long ago now? But it does add a bit of fire to the game.”
Read more: Injury updates as Ireland face crisis
After growing up Down Under in Canberra, Hansen was asked how aware he was of Ireland’s longstanding rivalry with England. He replied: “I think everybody hates England in general. It’s something I was aware of, for sure.
“I’m so pumped for it. It’s going to be a great week, one to take in and savour. I’m so excited for it, especially at home on Paddy’s Day. It’s going to be unbelievable. I was unlucky that I didn’t get to play last year, so fingers crossed I get to play on Saturday.”
Far from seeing it as the ideal time to play England after France handed out a record 53-10 thumping to Steve Borthwick’s side at Twickenham, Hansen is wary of the wounded beast.
He added: ‘The worst thing that could have happened for us was England getting pumped at home. You just know they’re going to turn around and be hungry to make up for it. They’re a great side.
“It didn’t go their way against France, they still have unreal players. We know they’re going to bounce back, we know they’re going to bring a lot of energy. It’ll be a completely different team to last weekend. But we want to play against the best and if they’re at their best then it’s going to be great, a good match.”
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.