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Test Rugby Debut:
2012 v New Zealand, Brisbane
Test Rugby Caps:
5 (Wallaby No.865)
Date Of Birth:
Australian Schoolboys 2005, Australian Under-19s 2006-07, Australian Under-20s 2008, Australian Wallabies 2012-
Queensland Reds hooker JAMES HANSON finds himself back in the Qantas Wallabies setup, where he will be determined to add to the one Test cap he earned against New Zealand in 2012.
A member of the Reds strong hooking tandem alongside Saia Fainga’a, Hanson has risen to the top in 2014 and has now be rewarded with selection in the Qantas Wallabies setup ahead of The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.
Hanson was one of 13 debutants used by Australia in 2012, and also landed himself a place on the Spring Tour after providing useful impetus off the bench during the 18-18 draw with the All Blacks in Brisbane.
His presence on the field that night saw him matched up against a player at the other end of the career scale: the All Black hooker on the night, Keven Mealamu, who was in the act of becoming just the third New Zealander to play 100 Tests.
Hanson’s debut came after a long apprenticeship, which has been served with both the Wallabies and Queensland Reds.
Although he gained only two starts during the Reds’ run to a maiden Super Rugby title in 2011, the University of Queensland Club hooker was one of just six players who featured in every game of that campaign.
The level of his service earned a call up to the Qantas Wallabies train on squad for that year’s Tri Nations triumph – with Hanson being on the bench for Australia’s opening Test of the year against Samoa although he was not required for action.
His maiden Test finally came at the end of the following year, with the opening provided when Fainga’a broke a bone in his hand at training in the lead-up to the year’s final Bledisloe Cup Test. Hanson had again been part of the training squad earlier in the season, which included being called up to join the squad in South Africa for the overseas leg of the inaugural Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship after injury had forced Stephen Moore to return home.
The 24-year-old had been two hours away from departing for the United States on holiday with his partner when the SOS from the Wallabies came in. The US holiday had to go on-hold for a second time due to his participation in the Spring Tour.
An Australian representative through the age-grades, Hanson is an uncompromising scrummager who also offers good value around the field. He boasts pedigree as a captain having led, as a 21-year-old, University to the 2010 Brisbane premier Club Rugby title, repeating that feat again in 2012 as the students ‘dethroned’ Sunnybank in the final.
Hanson made his debut for the Reds from the bench during the startling 41-20 win over the Crusaders in round two of the 2010 competition – a signature result which signalled that the Reds were easy beats no more. His introduction to Super Rugby came after he had furthered his Rugby ‘education’ by playing for North Harbour in the NPC, where his team-mates included fellow 2012 Wallaby graduate, goal-kicking utility Mike Harris.
Hanson had earlier appeared for the Melbourne Rebels in the solitary season of the Australian Rugby Championship in 2007. Although one of the youngest players in the squad, Hanson picked up the most improved player award at season’s end as he helped the Victorians reach the competition final, scoring a try in that match which the Rebels lost to the Central Coast Rays.
Fast Fact: He might not have received a jumper himself on the day but James Hanson has good reason to remember the jersey presentation before Australia’s Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship Test against South Africa at Pretoria last year: his uncle, the ex-Wallaby halfback Tony Parker, was the presenter. Hanson’s cousin Brendan Cannon also graced Wallaby ranks.