Harrison eager to keep hold of Saints No.8 shirt

Teimana Harrison started at eight against Leicester last weekend
Teimana Harrison started at eight against Leicester last weekend

Teimana Harrison is hoping to keep hold of the Saints No.8 shirt.

After Mitch Eadie suffered an ankle injury in the Aviva Premiership opening-day defeat to Saracens, Harrison came in to make his first appearance of the season last Saturday.

And the 25-year-old impressed, putting in a big display to help propel Saints to a superb 24-11 success against Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens.

Harrison enjoyed the afternoon hugely and the 2015/16 players' and supporters' player of the season is now eager to retain his starting spot in the weeks and months to come.

"I was at eight most of the season (2015/16) so hopefully they keep playing me at eight," Harrison said.

"It's probably my preferred position.

"It's pretty much a half and half because you get a good carrying role and you get in the game defensively, especially with most of our forwards being lineout options.

"They all defend the lineout and I get to run off the tail.

"I'm happy with eight and hopefully everyone else is happy with me there."

Harrison has won five caps for England, with Eddie Jones predominantly viewing the player as a seven.

But the Saints star is keen to learn in every back row position and he has been taking plenty of wisdom from Eadie, who moved to Northampton from Bristol during the summer.

"Mate, he's a hell of a player," Harrison said. "He's a strong ball runner, a very smart player and I've got a lot to learn off him.

"He's obviously played eight a lot more than me so I'll be learning everything I can from him.

"He was playing really well and it's unfortunate that he got injured, but that opened up an opportunity for me to play and I had to grab it with both hands.

"Hopefully I've done enough to keep the shirt."

New Zealand-born Harrison felt he had a point to prove after being left out of the squad for the defeat to Saracens.

And he was delighted with how things panned out against Tigers.

"It was really good to beat them," Harrison said. "It felt so good.

"It was nice to get a good run-out and to put an okay performance in.

"I just need to keep building on that now.

"The first game was a selection thing and I had a bit of a point to prove last weekend.

"They wanted to see a reaction - and they got one."