Colm Kinsella talks to Munster out-half JJ Hanrahan ahead of their RaboDirect PRO12 game against the Cardiff Blues.
MUNSTER’S exciting young out-half JJ Hanrahan admits he’s on a massive learning curve this season, but there are already many positive signs that the 21-year-old is on the right track.
Take the manner in which Hanrahan dealt with the error which led to Edinburgh’s crucial second half try in Munster’s shock Heineken Cup defeat in Murrayfield for instance.
Two weeks later UL-Bohemian clubman Hanrahan turned in a Man of the Match display in Munster’s PRO12 win over Glasgow, his performance illuminated by a stunning solo try.
But Hanrahan is quick to admit that the immediate aftermath of seeing his wayward crossfield kick which allowed Scotland wing Tim Visser to put the hosts ahead for the final time wasn’t easy.
Hanrahan said: “When Edinburgh happened, I came off the pitch and felt like ‘Jeez, that was a bit of a disaster.’ I made a mistake and we lost the game. There are two ways you can go – either sink or swim. You have to fight your best and try and come back out of it.
“In a position like out-half, you are either a hero or a villain every week. The challenge is to bounce back every week as much as you can. When you get your next opportunity, don’t even think about what happened before. It’s a new game. That is the way my mentality would be.
“In fairness, I can’t thank Conor (Murray) enough. He was brilliant in the situation. He came up to me straight after the game and gave me a smile and a wink. He said it was like his Racing Metro experience all over again. When you are in the dressing room and no one is talking, it is a great relief to have someone say something like that, especially coming from Murray and the fact he has been through it.
“Mistakes happen in games. It is how you deal with it and come back from it. It’s about growing, a massive curve. You learn from every experience you have and Rob (Penney) talks a lot about learning from experiences and learning from mistakes.
“When we played Glasgow a short time later, it was massive, massive, a great feeling to do that.”
Hanrahan is set to start Munster’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Cardiff at the Arms Park on Saturday evening with Ian Keatley ruled out through injury.
Hanrahan said he was now fully used to barking out the instructions from the play-making out-half position to players he would have idolised growing up as a Munster supporter.
Hanrahan said: “Two years ago, I said to myself one day in training that I could sit back here and be in awe of everything around you or you can get on with it.
“When you are playing at 10, you are supposed to be steering the ship. If I am in awe of someone and I don’t feel the confidence to say something on the field, then I shouldn’t be there. Two years ago, I had me eureka moment and I think I’ve gotten over that. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect the guys heavily for what they have done in their careers.
“You are helping each other out constantly. I am not dictating to everyone. I definitely don’t have all the answers. I am learning as I am going along.
“My own season has been ok. A lot of people might say you are going very well, but in a way you are there to default because there are only two of us there. I just have to keep pushing as hard as I can.
“It’s a big game this weekend, but every game is huge with Munster. It is a big four weeks for us. We are trying to build momentum going into the Heineken Cup. With Munster the Heineken Cup is the pinnacle.”