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Alan Quinlan on JJ Hanrahan's move and the times he was offered chances to leave

Quinan thinks the move abroad could be beneficial for Hanrahan.

Quinlan and Love/Hate's Laurence Kinlan are ambassadors for Topaz's efficient fuel campaign.
Quinlan and Love/Hate's Laurence Kinlan are ambassadors for Topaz's efficient fuel campaign.

JJ HANRAHAN HAS left Munster for Northampton and everyone is scrambling to form their opinion on whether it is good, bad or another reason that we will all eventually subscribe to BT Sport.

Hanrahan has been one of Munster’s sharpest attacking threats over the last few seasons but a lack of game time coupled with a Godfather offer from Northampton persuaded the utility back to sign for the Aviva Premiership champions.

Former Munster great Alan Quinlan told TheScore.ie that he thinks it is a gutsy move for Hanrahan at this stage of his career.

“He wanted to start at ten for Munster and he wasn’t getting that chance,” Quinlan said.

“There is always a doubt about whether you will get the game time when you move away but that is the chance you take when you go away. It is a big move and a brave move.”

If you have watched much of Northampton over the last two seasons, then you’ll know that their expansive style of rugby played behind a dominant pack could serve Hanrahan very well – they’re a bit like Munster with flair.

Obviously Anthony Foley would love to have Hanrahan in his squad, but the offer Northampton made – The Irish Times said it was in the region of €190,000 – would be impossible to match.

J Hanrahan scores a try despite Josh Strauss and Leone Nakarawa It would have been very tough for Munster to match Northampton's offer to Hanrahan. Source: Russell Cheyne/INPHO

And while Hanrahan has showed flashes of genius, Quinlan thinks it would have been tough for Munster to justify offering the young gun a similar package.

“Do you match that offer?,” Quinlan said.

“How do you value JJ at this stage in his career? It is very difficult to give that kind of money to someone who isn’t on a central contract. There are some starters in the Munster team who wouldn’t be on that.”

Now that Hanrahan has moved on, it will be interesting if he can follow in the footsteps of the once under-appreciated provincial players who returned from England as far superior operators.

Brian O’Driscoll has often spoken about how Shane Jennnings and Leo Cullen’s experiences at Leicester helped Leinster to win trophies. Quinlan thinks Hanrahan could be on a similar track and that when players are perennially on the bench, it can feel like your chance is slipping away.

“If you are playing on the team and making an impact you don’t want to leave but if you are sitting on the bench, sometimes you never get that opportunity to break into the side,” Quinlan said.

“A change in dynamic can be good for a player and sometimes going abroad brings out the best in them. Look at Eoin Reddan. It didn’t work for him at Munster but he went to Wasps and it worked out brilliantly.”

Eoin Reddan Can JJ Hanrahan have a similar impact in England that Eoin Reddan had? Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It is interesting to note that out of the Munster team that Quinlan starred on in the 00′s, none of the top players left during their prime. There were plenty of offers, some untrue (ROG to Miami) and some that were real.

Quinlan says that unlike today, his Munster team were consistently challenging for European honours so there was little to be gained from moving abroad. The money would have been better in France or England, but nowhere near the astronomical pay rises players get today.

He had a few offers, but ultimately Quinlan was content to remain at Thomond Park.

“Harlequins and Cardiff came in for me when I started back in 1997 but I never really considered it much,” Quinlan said.

I was well looked after and my contracts were usually wrapped up pretty quickly. I often look back and think what it would have been like playing abroad and there were occasions when I thought about it but 90% of the time we’d be in the mix in Europe. I would have liked to play in the south of France though, and there were a few queries from Toulouse when I was injured or my contract was coming up but I never really had serious discussions about it. They were a fantastic team and they had such a great fan base. My good friend Trevor Brennan did very well over there and was a cult hero so that would have been nice too.

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