Saints star Harrison: I have fallen in love with life at Franklin's Gardens

Teimana Harrison led Saints out against Leicester last weekend (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Teimana Harrison led Saints out against Leicester last weekend (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Teimana Harrison smiles broadly as he is reminded of a month that has been saturated with memorable moments.

From finding out that his partner is pregnant, to scoring a hat-trick at Clermont, to signing a new Saints contract, to being given the captaincy for a clash with Leicester Tigers.

Yes, it has been quite some start to 2019 for the indefatigable flanker.

Harrison arrived at Saints in 2011 as a raw forward, scouted by Dylan Hartley during the World Cup in New Zealand.

The pair attended the same school in Rotorua and having returned there to take in some rugby, Hartley liked what he saw from Harrison.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Harrison took the plunge to come to England, and he hasn't look back, transforming from a dreadlocked youngster into a mature man.

He has played 122 times for Saints, and so many more appearances beckon for a player who has become indispensable at Franklin's Gardens.

And it is a status that Harrison could never have imagined when he took his first steps at Franklin's Gardens.

"I had a goal to be around here for five years, set myself up and go back to New Zealand," the 26-year-old explained.

"Obviously things have changed dramatically. I've fallen in love with this country, I've fallen in love with this club.

"I've made brothers I never thought I would.

"I'm part of the furniture now so I'm settled and I don't think I'll be going anywhere."

Harrison certainly won't, having recently signed a new three-year deal at the club.

From speaking to the likeable star, it is clear just how much Northampton means to him.

And you can certainly see his passion for the cause when he steps on to the pitch.

"It's about the people around you," Harrison said.

"I had seven years under Jim (Mallinder) and Nobby (Dorian West), who were just amazing coaches, just the people I needed to bring me through.

"Now we've got Boydy (Chris Boyd) and you can see the style he brings, which suits me perfectly.

"Obviously I've got my brothers I play week in, week out with, who put their bodies on the line every week.

"You'd struggle to find another team who does it as consistently as we do.

"It's very special to me."

And it was certainlty very special for Harrison to lead Saints to a 47-20 win against Leicester last weekend, earning a Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final spot in the process.

"It was a little bit nerve-racking," he said. "I was probably a bit more scared about what I was going to say than leading the boys out.

"I didn't say a lot - Jimmy Grayson did most of the talking, I just tried to lead.

"It was interesting but fun.

"We started a bit slow but credit to the boys because we brought it back.

"I asked for 100 per cent commitment and they really gave it to me."