Saints flanker Harrison ready to make his mark

Teimana Harrison is ready to shine at Saints (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Teimana Harrison is ready to shine at Saints (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Teimana Harrison is hopeful this can be the season he stamps his mark on the Saints back row.

The 23-year-old arrived at Franklin’s Gardens in 2011 after being scouted in New Zealand by Dylan Hartley.

Harrison made the transition from Senior Academy to first team in 2012 and has been on the fringes ever since.

But this season, with Tom Wood having been on World Cup duty and Calum Clark on the injury list, the flanker has been given an early platform to build on.

He has made four appearances so far and wants this to be the year he secures a regular starting spot.

“It’s been nice to be involved,” Harrison said. “It’s the best start to a season I’ve had here.

“I’m getting the confidence up and building every game.

“It helped having a few injuries and a couple of guys away with England.

“I can feel my confidence growing, which helps me play better, and hopefully the coaches have got that in their mind.

“I’m becoming part of the furniture at the club and it’s nice to stay at a club this long, especially with the setup we’ve got here: the fans, the coaches and the players.

“I’ve got a strong brotherhood with a lot of the players and I’m getting there with the new ones.

“This is definitely a year that I need to push on. I’ve been here four years now and hopefully it’s my time to push on and get a bit of game time.”

Clark has been ruled out for two months after having shoulder surgery and Harrison will asked to help fill the void left by last season’s double player of the year.

And he said: “It helps my case that a lot of them (injuries) are in the back five.

“It sucks to see a lot of injuries, but you’ve got to take your opportunities how and where you can.”

Harrison, who has made a total of 27 appearances for the Saints first team, has found himself at No.8 on a couple of occasions since the start of pre-season.

And that is a role he is happy to fill when asked.

He added: “Wherever I get game time, I’ll play.

“It’s nice for me being able to cover all three positions in the back row. It makes me more appealing, that I can cover everywhere.

“It (No.8) is a new position that I’m picking up. I played it back when I was 12 or something, but it’s just about picking up the different running angles and I’m getting there.

“I moved around a bit back at school. I was always quite tall but not very big so it’s not that hard getting used to the different roles.”

Harrison is soaking up plenty of advice from some of Saints’ more senior players.

And he said: “I’ve learned a lot from Woody (Tom Wood) because for the most part I’ve been trying to get in at seven.

“Watching him, especially when he’s away with England, he plays good rugby, and for Saints.

“It’s been awesome playing alongside him week in, week out and I’ve really learned a lot from him.

“He’s not scared to sit down with you and tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve it. He’s awesome.

“At the moment, I’m watching how Sam Dickinson plays, so we’re getting there as well.”