Ned Hanigan on stage at the Blues Dinner
Ned Hanigan (pictured here at the 2019 UNSW Blues and Sport Awards Dinner) has been selected in the Wallabies squad for the first time since 2020. Photo: UNSW Sport

UNSW Science student and Elite Athlete Program member Ned Hanigan is nothing if not resilient. He has had a tumultuous time in the Australian rugby setup and has fought his way back into selection on numerous occasions. He last played for the Wallabies in 2020 and has since played for Australia A.

After his impressive form in those Australia A matches against Japan, Hanigan has now been named in the 36-player Wallabies Tour Squad that is en route to Europe for a five test series.

They will begin their campaign in Edinburgh against Scotland, before playing against France in their first Test in Paris since 2016. This will be followed by a Test against Italy in Florence, against Ireland in Dublin and against Wales in Cardiff.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie praised the form of Hanigan and a number of his teammates in the Australia A series.

"It's been really pleasing to continue to get game time into our players through the Australia A program and a number of those guys have been rewarded for their form with selection in the squad," he said.

Hanigan, whose studies have focused on physiology and psychology, was born in Dubbo and raised in the country town of Coonamble.

He moved to Sydney at the age of 12 as a boarder at St Joseph’s College – but only got into the first XV rugby side once he switched positions from outside centre to loose forward around the age of 16.

He was quickly noticed and selected in representative sides such as the Australian Schoolboys, which convinced him to stay in Sydney and start his degree at UNSW – enticed especially by the partnership with Shute Shield powerhouse Randwick.

Hanigan has been successfully balancing sport and study since 2014, largely due to the support of the UNSW Elite Athlete Program.

"If I look at the rugby fixtures, then we can work out where I can catch up. Helen Bryson [UNSW Elite Athlete Program Manager] is very helpful to me and puts me in touch with a lot of the course coordinators to try to work these things out.”

The Wallabies' first Test of the tour will be on Sunday 30 October at 3:30am AEDT.