Hanigan hungry for more after surreal debut

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Ned Hanigan still can’t quite believe he is the newest Wallabies No. 6 after making his Test debut on Saturday, but he knows he wants more.

Hanigan started against Fiji in Melbourne, a moment that continued a whirlwind 2017 for the kid from Coonamble.

It was a nervy lead-up to the clash but speaking after the Wallabies’ 37-14 win, Hanigan said the stint only made him hungry for more.

“As soon as you get a little bit of a sniff, you want to stay in it,” Hanigan said.

“Hopefully I've done enough to get there but if not, you're striving to get back in that jersey.

“You don't know what it's like until you're there and then when you get a bit of a feel for it you want to stay there for plenty more.”

The significance of the moment hit him in the moments before the game, when ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was ringing through the stadium, as he stood next to Waratahs teammate Sekope Kepu.

“I'm standing next to 'Keps' when the anthem was being sung and he was getting right into it,” Hanigan added.

“(It makes) you think how proud he is to still be in the jersey and he's played there before.

“(And) There's been so many great players who have worn that six jersey and just to be a part of just such a history of a player that's been in the jersey, I think that was something I got taken back by and I really enjoyed it.”

His parents and two of his siblings were there to share the emotion of his first Test, after organising a last-minute flight from the Gold Coast, where they had travelled for Hanigan’s brother’s graduation.

A conversation with the Dean meant Charlie, Ned’s brother, would be able to have his graduation ceremony at a later date, meaning they could all be at his debut, with the exception of his youngest brother, on a gap year in the UK.

“Mum said she cried in the anthem, so I'm glad I wasn't standing next to her,” Hanigan laughed.

“We talk about as players that we might have to sacrifice a few things but I think my parents, especially, throughout winter sport and summer sport when I was at school and things like that, they’ve always been on the sideline and if they're not there, there's a fair bit going on,” he said.

“The kilometres that Dad and Mum have clocked up over the years is phenomenal." - Ned Hanigan

“I'm 100 percent in their debt for the support they've shown me."

Wallabies captain and Hanigan’s backrow teammate Michael Hooper said Hanigan showed plenty of potential against Fiji.

“Very impressed with Ned’s debut game,” he said.

“He was pumped during the week and he showed that and carried himself well on the field.

“You’re in danger of overplaying your hand and I don’t think Ned did that. He really stuck to his role and did some good things on the field and carried well and got stuck into defence.”

The Wallabies travel to Sydney on Sunday ahead of their second June Test, against Scotland, next Saturday.

Australia takes on Scotland on Saturday at Allianz Stadium, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.