Ireland still an aim for Hanrahan

Date published: January 8 2016

Northampton Saints fly-half JJ Hanrahan hasn't given up on playing for Ireland despite being based overseas.

Hanrahan moved to the Premiership from Munster at the start of the season looking to play more regularly after his battle for the number ten shirt with Ian Keatley at Thomond Park.

The 23-year-old will start for Saints in their trip to old rivals Leicester Tigers on Saturday.

Hanrahan hopes the experience he can gain from those types of matches will stand him in good stead as he bids to not just be capped by Ireland, but to be regularly involved with the national side.

"This move is about coming here, trying to get as much experience as I can, trying to get better, and trying to get to that international level," Hanrahan told RTE.

"And when you get in there, to stay in there. There's no point getting in there for one or two games and back out again.

"You want to get in there and stay in there – and that's why I moved here. I've absolutely no doubts at all I made the right move.

"This is a great club with great support, I've never played in front of a stadium sold out so regularly. The boys and coaching staff are great and I'm really, really enjoying it.

"If I was a player that was maybe in the Ireland set-up and had moved away it might be a different conversation [about the risk of the move], but I was never really in the set-up.

"And that's no fault of anyone's, only myself. Maybe I wasn't up to the standard. The reason I made the move is to try to grow my game, grow myself as a person and gain as much experience as I can.

"If you're playing in the Premiership and playing regularly and you're lucky enough to get a call-up for Ireland, then playing against a team like England wouldn't be such a shock to you, because you've done it before – you've played against all those players.

"For me it's about growing my game and getting to the best level I can. If Ireland see me in contention then great, but if they don't I just have to keep working hard enough until they do.

"I'm just trying to play week on week at the moment."