Saints Q&A: Teimana Harrison

Teimana Harrison (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Teimana Harrison (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

It has been another eventful season for all-action Saints forward Teimana Harrison.

From a sending off at Bath to a sensational win at Leicester, Harrison has experienced the highs and lows of rugby once again during the 2017/18 campaign.

Here, we caught up with him to see what he has made of a tough season for Saints and asked him about a few other topics of note at Franklin's Gardens.

Teimana, you're obviously preparing for another game this weekend, at Wasps. How has the build-up been, given the great win at Leicester last time out?

"It was obviously a confidence boost, doing the double and making history.

"Preparations for Wasps goes on as usual, it's just another game for us, a chance to get a bit of light into a dark season."

How good was the game at Leicester?

"Before the game we spoke about how we hadn't won up there for 11 years so we were aware it had been a long time.

"It was only Stevie Myler who had been in the team up there for the last win.

"It was a good atmosphere, an amazing game to play in and an amazing feeling to get that win there."

You have predominantly been playing at No.8 this season so how did you find reverting to the seven role at Welford Road?

"It was nice getting back to it.

"You play a position for so long and you're just grinding that out, so it's nice to get a bit of change and to mix things up.

"It's nice to go back to what made my career.

"I got a lot of freedom around the breakdown and it gave me the opportunity to show (England boss) Eddie (Jones) what I could do around the breakdown."

You did start out as a seven at Saints...

"Yeah, my size was a bit of a limiting factor for me playing eight so it was good to get back into it.

"I think I'd like to play there a lot more because I think me and Mitch Eadie play well together.

"It's a good opportunity, but I'd also go back to eight in a heartbeat."

You won player of the season in 2015/16 playing a lot at eight so you've obviously got fond memories of that?

"Towards the end of that season I did play a lot of eight.

"I started off at seven that season but Sam Dickinson got a knock on his arm and I slotted in at eight and it went from there.

"When Louis (Picamoles) was here, I was the replacement for him at eight, but this season I've made the shirt my own, which has been nice."

What have you made of fellow No.8 Mitch Eadie since he joined from Bristol last summer?

"I love him.

"As a person, he's an amazing guy, an amazing family man and a real pleasure to be around.

"On the field, he speaks for himself.

"He hasn't had the opportunities he'd have liked.

"He got injured against Saracens on the opening day and he hasn't had a real chance to show himself but he did amazingly against Leicester and he'll move that on to Wasps this weekend.

"He's an awesome player and he carries hard for a guy of his size.

"Me and him are around the same size and, man, he's powerful."

How have you reflected on this season as a whole? You obviously had that sending off for making contact with the head of Nathan Catt while captain at Bath last month. How do you see that now?

"Obviously I don't want to get known as a dirty player so any cards I get, I look back and regret them a little bit.

"But I got three weeks off, which my body desperately needed, and then went into Saracens and got smoked, but moving into Leicester, I felt so good going into that game.

"The season has been a very emotional one and the Bath game was a result of that. Emotions got the better of me and I overstepped the line a little bit.

"On the flip side as well, he took a massive dive and made it look 10 times worse than it actually was.

"I've taken harder contacts than that walking to breakfast and it was a strange one, but in the law book I did make contact with his head so the card was the correct call.

"If he didn't take the dive, it wouldn't have been brought up and there wouldn't have been an issue with it."

You mentioned the benefits of having that break - is that something rugby players really need at times during the season?

"Yeah, if you look at Courtney Lawes, he was playing 80 minutes every week and he's a hell of an athlete and the impact he makes on the team is outstanding.

"The amount of contacts he takes and Dylan (Hartley) as well, your body needs a rest.

"These guys do it at international level as well, which is 10 times harder than the Prem,so they really do need the rest and I'm sure they'll make the most of it and be eager to get back in training next season."

Have you had a chance to speak to Dylan about the time he has been forced to take out this summer?

"Yeah, he knows the sport well enough to know you listen to the experts.

"Maybe when he was younger, he might have told them to go do one and got back on the field, but we've got Mikey Haywood, Reece Marshall, James Fish, Charlie Clare - a lot of hookers who are more than capable of doing the job.

"From a team point of view, if he needs to rest, he needs to rest, and we'll support him with that.

"We've got guys who are talented and hungry to play and that's good for us."