May 21, 2024

Hannah was speaking about fellow second-rows Sam Whitelock and Scott Barrett, who have been at the top of the game for a long time.

Whitelock recently departed the Christchurch-based franchise after becoming New Zealand’s most-capped player, overtaking Richie McCaw’s record.

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Move to France

The 35-year-old has secured a contract in the Top 14, joining his brother Luke at Pau. Despite the move, Hannah gained valuable insights from the All Blacks legend while they were teammates.

In the meantime, Barrett has chosen to stay with the Crusaders, providing Hannah with an excellent role model for Super Rugby Pacific this year.

Reflecting on the experience, Hannah expressed his appreciation for the wealth of knowledge gained from seasoned players like Whitelock and Barrett, emphasizing the importance of being well-prepared for a proper contract.

Hannah made his Super Rugby debut last season, stepping in for the Christchurch team due to an injury crisis at lock, with three appearances. Having secured his first full contract with the Crusaders, the 21-year-old is now focused on preparing for the upcoming campaign.

One of his challenges has been increasing his weight to meet the demands of playing at this level. Admitting the difficulty, he highlighted the substantial dietary requirements and rigorous training involved in the process.

Despite the challenges, Hannah acknowledged the positive impact on his game, particularly in contact situations, making the efforts worthwhile.

Boss’ view

The lock suffered a shoulder injury in the previous year, causing him to be sidelined for a considerable period. However, he has fully bounced back from the setback and is eager to make a significant impact in 2024.

Rob Penney, the new head coach of the Crusaders, succeeding Scott Robertson, holds a high regard for the young player’s innate abilities and strong work ethic.

“He has made a remarkable recovery from his shoulder surgery. It’s essential to guide him and provide opportunities for gradual growth. There’s no shortage of dedication and talent in him,” remarked Penney. “Our responsibility is to ensure proper nurturing at the right moment.”

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