JJ Hanrahan was a relaxed figure when he spoke to the media moments after Munster’s 38-0 victory over the Cheetahs at Thomond Park on Saturday evening.
The Currow native put in a very good performance to follow up his preseason exploits as he looks to start the season with a bang to help cement his place as Munster’s first choice out-half.
Of course, with Joey Carbery joining the men in red during the summer, and the general narrative being that he will become Munster’s 10 for the next two seasons, you wouldn’t blame Hanrahan for having a point to prove as the season begins.
When asked about the impact that Carbery’s arrival has had on him, the product of Castleisland RFC believes that it’s no different from any other season – when you play for Munster, your position is never guaranteed.
“It’s the same thing for me every year,” Hanrahan said.
“In Munster Rugby, there’s always going to be competition no matter what position you play, for me it’s just about putting my head down and focussing on myself and do the best I can and what will be, will be.”
The 26-year-old moved to full-back in the second half when Carbery entered the fray to a loud and welcoming reception from the Munster faithful. With Carbery at 10 and Hanrahan at 15, the duo linked up nicely in the second half to cut open the Cheetahs defence in what could be an exciting combination for the coming season.
Hanrahan admits he found the experience playing with Carbery “enjoyable”.
“Yeah, it was really enjoyable [playing with Carbery] because obviously when you get to that 15 slot, you have a bit more time on the ball, you have a lot more vision and when you’re in at 10 your vision is quite close.
“Obviously when you’re in at 15, you can see the whole field and you can pick your options and float in where you want, so it’s a bit more freedom back there, to be honest.”
Bigger tests will come for Munster this season but the prospect of having Hanrahan and Carbery in the same backline could give them that required added attacking edge.