'It is a dream come true for me,' says Irish rugby's newest hero after man of the match display

Mack Hansen thrilled Irish fans with his debut performance.

Hansen (white scrum cap) celebrates.
Hansen (white scrum cap) celebrates.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

AN EMOTIONAL MACK Hansen fought back the tears as he spoke about how special it was to make his international debut.

The Australian-born winger qualifies for Ireland via his Cork-born mother, who was unable to attend today’s match. Instead, she – and a large number of Hansen’s family – gathered together in Canberra to watch their famous relative make a name for himself on his first Ireland outing.

Named the official player of the match, Hansen credited his team mates for the role they played in his display.

“The guys inside me just made my job a whole lot easier, the forwards and backs, they were all running great lines,” said Hansen in an interview with RTÉ. “We have all got along great in the last couple of weeks and it was absolutely brilliant to be here, to see fans back in a stadium.

mack-hansen-during-the-game Hansen fires a grubber kick into the corner. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“This is a dream come true for me. Everyone has adopted me as one of their own and I am very proud to be Irish.

“All my family and friends are watching back in Australia and they have given me so many positive messages throughout the week. I could not be happier. This has been such a special week.

“We have got off to a great start but we have to get concentrating on France straight away. That will be a tough one.”

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Captain Johnny Sexton added: “To come away with five points against the reigning champions was special. You would have snapped your hand off for that before the game.

“The wind played its part in the game; we knew if we could get a foothold into the game playing against the elements then in the second half we would have the breeze behind us and we could use it to our advantage.

“There are lots to improve on. It is a big thing to be seeking to improve after a win. We have everything to play for. We can build momentum throughout this tournament.

“France have form. Their confidence is up after a good November. It is going to be a hell of a test.”

Sexton took a blow to the chin in the second half – a moment which saw Josh Adams disappear to the bin and saw Ireland take advantage to score two tries in the Welshman’s absence. “I feel okay now and we made the yellow card tell which is the most important thing,” said Sexton.

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Garry Doyle

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