The winger showed great presence of mind and skill to flip the field position on its head

A quickly taken lineout to himself led to a Mack Hansen 50:22 for Ireland against Tonga in an incredible piece of quick-thinking and skill.

The Australia-born winger, on his first start of the tournament having been drafted onto the bench late against Romania when Robbie Henshaw pulled out, fielded the ball inside his 22 after a booming kick from Tonga.

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Watch Mack Hansen 50:22


However, the kick chase was lacking from the Pacific Islanders who are the 20th and final team to get their Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign underway.

The quick-thinking Hansen took a quick lineout to himself – a lesser seen skill these days – and without too much pressure sent a bomb downfield.

They say you make your own luck and Hansen’s opportunism paid off as the ball bounced a good few metres outside the 22 before trickling in and out to secure a 50:22 for the world’s No 1 side.

Hansen’s ingenuity was a massive territorial pivot as Tonga went from the prospect of putting pressure on the Irish lineout deep in their opponents’ 22 to having to defend their opponents’ lineout in their own red zone.

Things got even better for Hansen when he cut in to score a scintillating try after 32 minutes, taking the score to 24-6 after Johnny Sexton’s successful conversion.

Hansen was initially left out of the Ireland 23 to play Romania in Bordeaux on the opening weekend of action. Reports suggested that it could have been due to a disciplinary issue but Ireland head coach Andy Farrell flatly denied that was a case, insisting it was squad rotation. Hansen had been a constant presence throughout Ireland’s warm-up games.

Farrell, when asked why Hansen didn’t start in Round One, said: “”Because we wanted to give somebody else a game. As simple as that.”

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