EXCLUSIVE: Mack Hansen Previews Ireland's Rugby World Cup Opponents and More Hilarious Tattoo Plans - Ruck

EXCLUSIVE: Mack Hansen Previews Ireland’s Rugby World Cup Opponents and More Hilarious Tattoo Plans

Ireland winger Mack Hansen has some more interesting tattoo ideas planned, if his side are able to win their country a first ever Rugby World Cup title this coming Autumn.

Hansen has previously gone viral amongst the online rugby fanbase, after getting a small portrait of Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell’s face inked onto his leg. This tattoo was added to the winger, after Ireland secured the 2023 Six Nations Grand Slam, the nation’s first since 2018.

“Yeah, there’s a couple of things in the works.” Hansen said. “I might try and get a couple, I might even take it the public to see what they think we should get, could be a good idea. Get the people involved.”

“I was thinking of getting everyone’s names, everyone in the squad and staff, and everyone included, tattooed on my bum. And then a bit of a tramp stamp that says ‘World Champ’ above, I thought it’d be be quite funny.”

Ireland have a long road to go before Hansen can permanently etch the title of ‘World Champ’ onto his skin. The men from the Emerald Isle have been drawn into the proverbial ‘Pool of Death’ for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, as they are set to take on South Africa, Scotland, Tonga and Romania in Pool B.

The draw for the 2023 RWC took place as far back as December 2020, over three years before the competition’s kick-off this coming September. This early draw means that the now Number One ranked side in the world Ireland, are due a run-in with the reigning World Champions the Springboks. Hansen discussed the sides that Ireland are gearing up to face in France.

“Yeah, we understand that it’s going to be a tough pool. With either of them, (Scotland and South Africa) and as you said Romania and Tonga aren’t going to be easy by any means. Especially Tonga now, as they’ve added more players.

“But at the end of the day, you got to beat everybody to win the World Cup. So that’s how we’re kind of looking at the whole situation. Yeah, it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be a hard road. But it could make it all the sweeter when we get to the end.”

“Yeah, definitely. Both very physical teams (South Africa and Scotland) both very different teams as well. So your kind of getting a bit of everything. I think realistically, it’s probably the best thing that we could have had, it’s going to test us in all sorts of ways, different defences and different attacks, leading into the knockout games, so no we’re excited for it. it’s going to be good.”

Ireland have three Rugby World Cup warm-up matches this Summer, to finalise their preparations ahead of the trip to France. Andy Farrell’s side are taking on Italy, England and Samoa, with the middle match against Steve Borthwick’s side peaking Hansen’s interest after their latest Six Nations encounter. Ireland secured the Grand Slam with a 29-16 victory over England, yet there were times when momentum was certainly behind the visitors in Dublin.

“Yeah, it’s another test match. So you want to win all these, especially the ones at home. So looking forward to it. I think, the last game, even though we got the win, you know, there were certain things that happened throughout the game, like they (England) were kind of out playing us, we felt, throughout the game.

“We thought they probably, you know, I think a couple things could have gone their way, it could have been a different game. So we’re going to look to kind of justify that, and we’re, definitely going to target that as a game that we’re going to want to win, and try win well, too.

England player ratings vs Argentina
The England team during the National Anthem before the Autumn Nations Series Match between England and Argentina at Twickenham Stadium on 6 November 2022. Photo: Frankie OKeeffe/PPAUK

“But I understand that, you know, they’re a good team, and it’s going to be a tough battle. But that’s kind of, I think that’s the way I’m looking at least.”

“I just want to be playing, I just want to go in playing some good footie, and helping us however I can. That’s kind of just what I’ve set my mind on at the moment. Yeah, I just want to go in playing good. help my team win and then the rest will kind of take care of itself.”

Hansen is an ambassador for rugby clothing giants Canterbury, and the winger is utilising the brand’s new state of the art lightweight boot. Weighing just 217g, the Speed Infinite Elites will be released today, on July 6th, and Hansen, along with England flyers Adam Radwan and Jodie Ounsley, have had early access to the boots, that have recently been sent into space!

“Having secretly worn the Canterbury Speed Infinite Elite boot this season, including for the best moment of my career, it’s clearly designed for the elite game.

“Canterbury really has delivered the next generation of rugby boot.  My first reaction was that, for a boot designed specifically for rugby, it’s incredibly lightweight – it’s about the same weight as an iPhone.  It looks great and the tight fit is comfortable on your foot, so it’s amazingly comfortable and helps to maximise my speed and performance on the pitch.” 

Find out more the boots at: Speed Infinite Elite | Canterbury

Hansen is one of a small group of Ireland internationals, that is not playing for Leinster in the United Rugby Championship. Hansen plays for Connacht, whilst 20 Leinster players were named in Ireland’s 2023 Six Nations squad, and all but one of Leinster’s Champions Cup Final starting XV, had achieved an Irish cap.

The 25-year-old offered an interesting insight into Ireland’s mentality, after Leinster squandered the URC play-offs and Champions Cup Final, with shocking back-to-back defeats at the tale end of the 2022/23 season. Hansen sees this as little more than another motivating factor for his teammates from Dublin.

“Now look, the last time they (Leinster) lost the URC and the Champions Cup final, we ended up going over to New Zealand and winning our first game over there. So, no doubt that the guys were kind of a bit heartbroken from it.

“And I feel like they kind of spilled their tears already and they’ve moved on to the next thing. If anything, it’s just going to make them hungry to kind of prove people wrong. Yeah, and come out and give the best best performance that they can.”

Connacht reached the semi-final of the 2022/23 United Rugby Championship play-offs, before being eliminated by eventual runners-up the DHL Stormers. Hansen was an integral part of Connacht’s season, and discussed how the pre-season preparations have already commenced, as the Galway based side plans to go one better next season, and emulate the latest winners Munster.

“Yeah, the lads were back on Monday. It was the first day back, everyone wasn’t in too bad of shape, which was actually quite surprising, from I know some guys had some big holidays planned. And from seeing the Snapchats and whatnot, they definitely enjoyed the break!

“But everyone’s come back in really good, really good spirits and ready to kind of kick on. It’s exciting for us, new coaches, a lot of new faces and stuff. Hoping to go that one step further this year and make it to the final and kind of do what Munster did this year.”