Anthony Foley: It’s a mystery why JJ Hanrahan left, but I respect his decision

Anthony Foley admits it’s a "mystery" why JJ Hanrahan’s decided to quit Munster but respects the 22-year-old’s decision.

The Munster coach also expressed frustration the province are losing a player that came through the system but will be playing for English Premiership champions Northampton Saints next season.

“To be honest, when I spoke to him I got a good feeling he was staying and then, unfortunately, he made the decision to leave and it’s a mystery to me,” Foley said.

“It’s not something we do. He’s a player we’d love to have kept but, unfortunately, he’s made his decision for his reasons and we move on. You always want to keep your players, particularly ones you bring up through the province. You want to keep them and get the best value out of them.”

Foley did speculate Hanrahan’s position as back-up out-half to Ian Keatley played a part in his decision to move on.

“He’s obviously the second-choice 10 and Ian Keatley has done very well in key moments of this season so far. He’s kept us in competitions. The last-minute drop goal against Sale, his performance against Saracens, the last minute kick in Clermont to get us a point —– they’re all crucial moments that were on his shoulders and he had the experience to do that.

“Retaining Keats for us is massive, and unfortunately JJ didn’t feel like sitting in the shadows for us and playing number two. He wants to play number 10 and probably feels he’ll get that opportunity at Northampton.

That’s his decision. I’m 20 years at the international level of this game so it comes and goes, we see players come and go. It’s not nice to lose a player that’s been through your school system and academy but it happens.”

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