Harrison so keen to see out career at Saints as new clothing brand kicks off

If Saints fans needed any incentive to support Teimana Harrison’s business endeavours, it is right here...

By Tom Vickers
Sunday, 21st June 2020, 7:00 am
Teimana Harrison has started his own clothing brand
Teimana Harrison has started his own clothing brand

“If you can get something set up, you don’t have to chase the money somewhere else,” Harrison said after launching his new Wolfe clothing brand late last month.

“I want to stay at Saints. It’s an awesome club, they gave me my opportunity and it would be awesome to stay here if they’ll have me.”

Harrison still has two years left on his current Northampton contract, which is set to see him stay with Saints until at least the summer of 2022.

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But if he can establish his business so that it provides him with a productive second income stream, he would have no need to accept any lucrative offers late in his career, like Cobus Reinach recently did as he headed to cash-rich French club Montpellier.

Instead, the No.8, who has only ever known life in Northampton since moving from New Zealand as a raw teenager, would be able to see out his playing days in at the club he loves.

“I came straight out of school and over to Northampton so Saints is all I’ve known professionally,” said Harrison, who joined the Saints Senior Academy in 2011 after being recommended by Dylan Hartley.

“I love Northamptonshire, it’s a beautiful place in the country - you’re not too far from everywhere.

“I definitely think Northampton will be home for us and hopefully I can stay here at Saints and finish my career, but who knows?

“No matter what, I think we’ll always find our way back to Northampton.”

Harrison’s journey at Saints has been eye-catching.

He made his first-team debut against Wasps in 2012 and has since gone on to help the club win the Premiership, European Challenge Cup and Premiership Rugby Shield.

He is now one of the first names on the teamsheet and was made co-captain alongside Alex Waller by boss Chris Boyd.

“If you’d have asked me eight years ago I wouldn’t have told you the story how it’s gone,” Harrison said.

“I never would have thought I’d be a captain.

“I was just happy being part of the squad and then just happy playing every week.

“Everything else that’s come on top of that has been an added bonus and it’s definitely something I wouldn’t change.”

During his time at Saints, Harrison truly has gone from boy to man.

Gone are the dreadlocks that made him stand out so much at the start of his Saints career, now his rugby does all of the talking.

Harrison has made the No.8 shirt his own in recent times and off the field, he has become a father - his son Wolfe, who the clothing brand is named after, turned one last month - and now a businessman.

“Other people’s misfortune has been my fortune,” said the 27-year-old.

“I started off as a seven and I really enjoyed playing seven, but when the eight shirt came up and I got that opportunity it was one I really enjoyed.

“I’ve grown to love the position.

“I’ve still got a lot to learn but it’s probably my main position now. I probably wouldn’t go back to seven.”

While life is good for Harrison on the field, life off it is, too.

He and his partner Charlotte are enjoying raising their son, while Harrison has also been using his time in self-isolation to get his new business off the ground.

So how did it all come about?

“A mate, Paul Guidon, who I met through (former Saints prop) Jamal Ford-Robinson, got in touch and said he had a pretty cool idea,” Harrison explained.

“We started bouncing ideas off each other and came up with a clothing brand.

“Paul has done a lot of marketing and stuff and he’s a creative designer who has worked with a load of big companies like Mercedes and Audi, some fairly big brands.

“We launched on my son Wolfe’s birthday (May 28) so we’ve been up and running for a few weeks now and it’s been interesting.

“It’s been quite cool to see the orders come in and we’ve been fulfilling them, sending everything out.

“Ideally we would have launched two months ago but everything that happened held us back a lot, especially with the factories we’re using shutting down.

“We’re quite lucky because we’ve got no overhead costs, we don’t have to rent a storage unit - we’re based out of my spare room and everything is packed by us.

“I have thought about doing actual local deliveries.”

Like most players, time away from playing rugby has focused the mind for Harrison.

He has been able to consider what he will do when his current career ends.

“I’ve always wanted to have a business and to be honest I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” the Opotiki-born back row forward said.

“I definitely didn’t think about a clothing brand given my style and fashion sense.

“But Paul came to me with a good idea and it was one I couldn’t really pass up.

“With his expertise, it made a lot of sense to do it now.

“Seeing Rob Horne and what happened to him with how quickly everything can change (Horne was forced to retire due to injury), it gave me the push to speed up the process of getting something sorted.

“I have to look to life after rugby, even though I’ve hopefully got a few more years in a Saints shirt.

“I do have to start planning ahead.”

And Northampton clearly features prominently in those plans, with a move back to New Zealand definitely not on the agenda.

“I’ve still got two more years at Saints,” Harrison said.

“I’m 28 in September and the only time I’d go back to New Zealand is for a little holiday.

“I enjoy England. My partner is from here, my little boy is going to grow up in England and it’s home now.

“I can’t see myself living anywhere else.”

While Harrison has enjoyed his time in self-isolation - the highlight of which has been watching his son take his first steps - he has certainly been eager to get back in training at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Covid-19 pandemic called an unexpected halt to rugby in March, but Saints are now back at the Gardens as the Gallagher Premiership gears up for a long-awaited return on the weekend of August 15.

“When it all started I was chatting to some of the boys and said ‘it will be nice for a little rest’, thinking it would only be two or three weeks,” Harrison said.

“But it’s turned out two be two months and counting and it’s a long time.

“Speaking to a lot of the boys, everyone was just keen to get back in, whether that be training or whatever.

“We just wanted to get into a routine again.”

If you want to take a look at Teimana Harrison’s new clothing brand head to www.wolfemen.com