Ned Hanigan, an extremely grounded and down to earth country kid with an impressive work rate and athleticism, has ridden a rollercoaster of fortune in his time with the Wallabies.
Hanigan played his first rugby for the Coonamble Rams U11s as an inside centre. At 12, he moved to the city to board at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, Australia’s most prodigious rugby nursery. He remained in the backline, drifting between each centre position, until his final year when he was shifted to No.8, made the 1st XV (2013), and from there won selection for Australian Schools.
After he graduated Hanigan worked as a stableman for horse trainer Gai Waterhouse, joined the famous Randwick club and began a Science degree at the University of New South Wales. In 2014 Hanigan represented New South Wales’ U20s (2014-15) and a year later played the first of four seasons in NRC with the New South Wales Country Eagles (2015-19).
In 2016, Hanigan made his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs, against the Cheetahs before a series of impressive and consistent performance the following season saw him chosen for a Test debut, against Fiji in Melbourne. Hanigan capped a memorable 2017 when named Rugby Australia’s Rookie of the Year. However, by 2019, Hanigan was “experiencing drought on and off the park”. He had somehow fallen out of favour with Michael Cheika and was a notable omission from the RWC19 squad.
Recalled “from the wilderness”, and following a series of knee issues, by Dave Rennie in 2020, Hanigan ended the year in need of a sea change, so he headed north to play for Kurita Water Gush in Japan. In 2022, he returned to the Waratahs with a refreshed outlook on both rugby and life and earned the right to play for Australia ‘A’ against Japan. Hanigan’s solid form in that series was rewarded with a spot in the Wallaby Spring Tour squad.
2013 Represented Australian Schools against Fijian U18s and New Zealand Schools. He then won selection in each of the four “internationals” of the Australian Schools tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
2015 Selected in the Australian U20s squad for the eighth-annual IRB Junior World Championship tournament in Italy.
2017 Hanigan won his first Test cap as a blindside flanker in the run-on XV against Fiji in Melbourne. He earned 12 caps throughout the year but suffered a setback on the Spring Tour when he was forced to return home after he injured his knee in the 6-30 loss to England at Twickenham.
2018 He collected a total of eight caps from the Wallabies’ 13 internationals. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto’s decision to withdraw from Wallabies duty following the first Test against Argentina opened the door for Hanigan to pick up his three starting caps for the year in the final two matches of The Rugby Championship and the third Bledisloe in Yokohama.
2020 Hanigan picked up five caps, four as the starting blindside flanker, from the Wallabies six internationals.
2022 Following a 23 Test hiatus, Hanigan made his return to the Test arena on the end-of-season Spring Tour where he earned caps against Scotland, Italy and Wales.