Mack Hansen signs new contract to stay with Connacht until 2025

Talented back one of four nominees for men’s XVs players’ player of the year

Mack Hansen was celebrating on the double on Wednesday after signing a new deal to stay with Connacht until at least 2025, while also being one of the four nominees for the Accenture men's XVs players' player of the year award.

Hansen is joined on that list by the Leinster and Ireland backrow duo of Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier, with the shortlist completed by another Leinster and Ireland star in Hugo Keenan, who sees his remarkably consistent form recognised.

Hansen, the 24-year-old Australian-born back, admits his decision to stay at the Sportsground was an easy one after enjoying a blistering rise in the game since his arrival in Galway at the start of this season.

“Committing my future at Connacht was a no-brainer. Ever since I arrived in Ireland I cannot speak highly enough of the staff and my team-mates who have made me feel right at home. Personally I’m pleased with how my first season has gone and now I want to do everything I can to help the club achieve success for the next three seasons.”

The nominees for the Accenture women's XVs players' player of the year Award are Linda Djougang, Eve Higgins and Sam Monaghan. Djougang has been an ever present in the side during the Six Nations, while Higgins grew further into the XVs game with a series of exciting performances. Monaghan's contribution was also telling and cemented her place as an integral member of the squad.

This year will also see one of Eve Higgins, Neve Jones or Aoibheann Reilly named as the Whoop women's XVs young player of the year.

This year marks the10th anniversary of the passing of former Ulster player Nevin Spence, his brother Graham and his father Noel. A recipient of the young player of the year in 2011, the Nevin Spence men's XVs young player of the year award will be contested by Mike Lowry, Cian Prendergast and Dan Sheehan.

A winner of the AIB Corporate Banking men's Sevens player of the year award on several occasions, Terry Kennedy is nominated once again and features alongside Bryan Mollen and Andrew Smith. Eve Higgins, Lucy Mulhall and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe will contest the TritonLake women's Sevens player of the year.

Members of the public are also invited to partake in the selection of the Druids Glen Moment of the Year using #DruidsMoment22. Follow Rugby Players Ireland on Twitter (@RugbyPlayersIRE) and Instagram (@rugbyplayersireland) for more.

Commenting on the announcement, Rugby Players Ireland chairperson Peter O’Mahony said: “I’m extremely proud of our membership after what has been a difficult few years both on and off the field. A lot of work has gone on in the background through the likes of Rugby Players Ireland to ensure that we remain at the top of our game.

“I feel this has shone through on the field this season through the performances of our national teams and provincial sides, while the impact of our fans was also keenly felt. I wish to congratulate all nominees and their team-mates on their efforts this season.”

Nominees

Men's XV
Caelan Doris (Leinster)
Mack Hansen (Connacht)
Hugo Keenan (Leinster)
Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

Women's XV
Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union)
Sam Monaghan (Wasps Women's Rugby)

Nevin Spence men's XV young player
Michael Lowry (Ulster)
Cian Prendergast (Connacht)
Dan Sheehan (Leinster)

Women's XV young player
Eve Higgins (Railway Union)
Neve Jones (Gloucester Hartpury)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College)

Men's XV try of the year
Caelan Doris – Ireland v New Zealand, Autumn Nations Cup
Mack Hansen – Connacht v Vodacom Bulls, United Rugby Championship
Mack Hansen – France v Ireland, Six Nations

Women's XV try of the year
Eve Higgins – France v Ireland, Six Nations
Eve Higgins – Ireland v Italy, Six Nations
Lindsay Peat – Ireland v USA, Autumn International

Men's Sevens player of the year
Terry Kennedy
Bryan Mollen
Andrew Smith

Women's Sevens player of the year
Eve Higgins
Lucy Mulhall
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe