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Harris stunned by All Black gripe

Date

Jim Morton

Kiwi-born Wallaby Mike Harris.

Kiwi-born Wallaby Mike Harris. Photo: Getty Images

All Black gripes about Australia poaching their players have been met with both astonishment and wry grins.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is fuming about Kiwis being "pinched" after Auckland product Mike Harris kicked the Wallabies to a surprise 18-18 Test draw in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Hansen called for the Australian Rugby Union to get its house in order and stop stealing players after he was asked whether Harris's display embarrassed the NZRU's talent identification system.

Burst of speed ... Pat McCabe eludes the New Zealand defence. Click for more photos

Wallabies hold the All Blacks

The Wallabies surprise the rugby fraternity by halting the rampaging All Blacks' tilt at 16 straight wins with a gritty 18-18 draw in Brisbane. Photo: Getty Images

"It's time you start developing your players in your own country," he responded.

A stunned Harris returned serve today by hinting at hypocrisy from the All Blacks who have consistently selected Pacific Islanders in the past, and also played former Australian under-21 halfback Steve Devine a decade ago.

"I was a bit surprised by Steve's comments," the 24-year-old Harris said.

"It's been going on for as long as rugby has been professional, and maybe even further back as well."

Harris wasn't the only former New Zealand underage player in the Wallabies team at Suncorp Stadium as prop Sekope Kepu also defected after failing to crack a Super Rugby start.

It was Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie who sparked the conversion of both and he believes New Zealand's rugby strength will continue to see overlooked aspiring products cross the ditch.

"They've got a lot of players," McKenzie said. "They've probably got too many players in some positions."

A five-eighth or inside centre, Harris was a member of the Blues wider training group while Sydney-born, south Auckland-raised Kepu was outside the Chiefs' contracted-player list.

McKenzie watched with more than pride when Harris kicked five penalties from five attempts and also made a fine fist of fullback against the All Blacks.

"I did have a bit of a giggle when he was kicking goal after goal - just as well we brought him over," he said.

"When I first spoke to Mike he was in the wider training group for the Blues, he wasn't on the fast-track to anywhere. He had three guys in front of him to play Super Rugby.

"It's worked out well for him."

Eligible to play for the Wallabies through an Australian-born grandmother, Harris said he had no regrets.

"As an aspiring rugby player you always want to be playing at the next level and if New Zealand had offered me a Super Rugby jersey things might have been different," he said.

"I'm very thankful to get the chance to play for the Reds and Wallabies."

AAP

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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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