“Tour to Australia, I’d say”
That was Jim Mallinder’s reaction when a reporter suggested that Teimana Harrison could be included in the England Saxons squad for the summer trip to South Africa.
Mallinder is convinced Harrison, who he described at ‘outstanding’ after Saints’ defeat at Saracens on Saturday, should be in consideration for the full England squad.
And he feels the three-Test tour of Australia, which begins in June, is noy beyond reach for the New Zealand-born flanker, who qualifies for England through his father.
“Teimana’s been improving for us over the past few years,” Mallinder said.
“We’ve seen a consistent level of performance from him this year to think he can go on and play at a higher level.
“I’d see him at seven. He plays well for us at No.8, but I’d see him as an international seven.”
Harrison excelled at eight for Saints against Saracens, carrying the fight in a relentless display that drew plenty of plaudits.
Saints were eventually beaten 29-20 in the Champions Cup quarter-final at Allianz Park, but the 23-year-old did not deserve to be on the losing side.
“Teimana was outstanding,” Mallinder said. “He’s been good for us all year.
“He’s not particularly big, but he plays above his weight.
“Some of his carrying was absolutely immense and with him and Ben Nutley swarming everywhere looking for turnovers, that was a massive help for us.”