Saints star Harrison 'a joy to watch'

Teimana Harrison has been a big hit since joining Saints in 2011 (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Teimana Harrison has been a big hit since joining Saints in 2011 (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Phil Dowson has described Saints star Teimana Harrison as 'a joy to watch'.

And Dowson has recalled the early days of the 26-year-old's career at Franklin's Gardens, reminiscing about the raw power Harrison showed on arrival in Northampton in 2011.

The No.8 signed a new three-year deal at Saints earlier this week, capping a big few days that included a hat-trick at Clermont Auvergne.

Harrison has also been celebrating the news that his partner is expecting their first child.

His maturity has grown since arriving at the Gardens eight years ago, having been scouted by Dylan Hartley when the England hooker visited his old school in Rotorua during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

And forwards coach Dowson, a Saints player from 2009 to 2015, remembers when Harrison first joined the Saints Academy.

"When he first rocked up I remember him not wearing shoes, being pretty quiet and hanging around with Dylan a lot," Dowson said.

"He was insanely powerful in the gym. When we were doing box jumps, when we were doing lifts, he hadn't done a huge amount of weights before but you could tell he was just raw power.

"As you saw last weekend, he's not the biggest body back row, but he punches three times his weight in terms of how he carries, how he plays, his work rate and fitness levels.

"He's an all-round athlete, and he's an all-round player."

And Dowson added: "He was pretty much always my favourite player to watch when I was here playing.

"Certainly last weekend he was a joy to watch in terms of his work rate, aggression, physicality and his skill as well.

"He's playing out of his skin and he's one of those players who is desperate to improve and learn.

"Every time he puts the shirt on he's flat out, and you can't ask for any more than that."

During the 2015/16 campaign Harrison won the breakthrough player, supporters’ player and players’ player of the season awards at Saints.

He was named in the Premiership dream team, and he is now starting to hit that kind of form once again.

"He's got lots of things he can work on, and he's aware of that," Dowson said.

"But as long as he's desperate to play and bring that intensity week in, week out, I can't see why he wouldn't improve and keep knocking out big performances like the one last weekend."