JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Harris gets his chance to show Deans as SBW awaits

Date

Chris Barclay

He sees red … Queensland's Mike Harris tries to elude David Pocock of the Western Force. Harris marks Sonny Bill Williams in the centres as the Reds host  the table-topping Chiefs at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium tomorrow.

He sees red … Queensland's Mike Harris tries to elude David Pocock of the Western Force. Harris marks Sonny Bill Williams in the centres as the Reds host the table-topping Chiefs at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium tomorrow. Photo: Getty Images

MIKE HARRIS finally gets an opportunity to confront the Sonny Bill Williams phenomenon head on as the Wallabies hopeful from North Harbour continues auditioning for an inside-back berth for the June internationals by marking up against one of New Zealand's finest.

Since returning from a hamstring injury against the Stormers on April 20, the 23-year-old utility has confronted Ma'a Nonu and Daniel Carter in successive rounds - and Williams looms as the Super Rugby-leading Chiefs take on the defending champions at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow.

Harris missed the regular-season win over the Crusaders in Brisbane last year and was still in rehab when the Queensland Reds beat Richie McCaw's men in the title decider.

''It's pretty exciting for me, it's a challenge I'm looking forward to,'' said Harris, who will try and form a midfield blockade with outside-centre Anthony Faingaa, another key player back to full fitness.

Ewen McKenzie's back line successfully shut down the Crusaders' dynamic duo of Williams and Robbie Fruean last year - then-fullback Ben Lucas, defending at No.10 for Quade Cooper, set the tone on May 29 when he cut the All Blacks star down the first time he carried the ball.

Ben Tapuai, now sidelined with a broken collarbone, and Faingaa also cramped the Crusaders' style that night and again in the final.

And Harris hopes history repeats when he and Faingaa seek to replicate the defensive effort that helped keep the Crusaders tryless in Christchurch for the first time since 2000 last weekend.

There is no coincidence that the Reds' defensive system has been upgraded by the return of Faingaa, who started last weekend for the first time since round one, while goalkicker Harris has always been regarded as a reliable tackler.

''Anthony and myself have a good combination. We pride ourselves on shutting down those types of players,'' said Harris, referring to the obstacles posed by Williams and centre partner Richard Kahui.

Williams looms large over any opposition but Harris, who crossed the Tasman last year after being consistently overlooked by the Blues, and his teammates said it would be folly to neglect the threats posed by Kahui, Aaron Cruden and wing Lelia Masaga.

''Cruden's their playmaker. He's the one that controls the game and pulls the strings,'' said Reds and Wallabies halfback Will Genia.

''There was a big deal made about Sonny when we played the Crusaders last year but all you have to do is tackle low and make sure you do your best to stop the offload, and I guess you nullify that threat.''

If Harris, who is eligible for the Wallabies through an Australian-born grandmother, can follow those instructions his prospects of being involved in the season-opening Test against Scotland on June 5 will be enhanced. ''I was hearing positive things last year, so hopefully I can have three really good games [before Scotland],'' he said.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will rely heavily on Reds and Western Force players for the one-off Test because they have a bye before Super Rugby takes a break.

There is also only a four-day turnaround before the opening match of a three-Test series against Wales, where the top team will be picked.

Meanwhile, the Reds welcome back loose-head prop Ben Daley and openside breakaway Beau Robinson, who is on the bench, after the pair missed the trip to Christchurch with minor hamstring and leg injuries. Greg Holmes drops to the reserves, while back-up prop Albert Anae and Wallabies No.8 Radike Samo revert to club rugby.

Otherwise, McKenzie has named a settled squad, a reason he is confident they can climb the overall ladder from ninth.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers