Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

England set to name Teimana Harrison in pack for final Test

Published 22/06/2016

Teimana Harrison is set to play in the final Test in Sydney
Teimana Harrison is set to play in the final Test in Sydney

England are set to name Teimana Harrison in their back row for Saturday's final Test against Australia at Allianz Stadium.

Harrison is poised to replace James Haskell after the Wasps flanker sustained a foot injury in the series-clinching victory in Melbourne.

Head coach Eddie Jones stated on Monday that Haskell possesses an "amazing capacity to absorb pain", but one of the stars of the tour Down Under has lost his fitness battle for the third Test.

The void in the back row will be filled by New Zealand-born Harrison, who will win his second cap after making his debut in the pre-tour clash with Wales at Twickenham.

On the left wing Jack Nowell, who this week has been undergoing the return-to-play protocols for concussion, is poised to make way for Marland Yarde.

England have already established an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, but are determined to complete a whitewash of the Wallabies when they bring down the curtain on their June tour.

Victory would also continue a remarkable run for Maro Itoje, who has not lost a game that he has started this season for club or country in a sequence that dates back to Saracens' 24-20 defeat by Exeter last May.

It comes at the end of a breakthrough campaign for 21-year-old Itoje, who won the first of his six caps in February and has since celebrated a Grand Slam and an unexpected series triumph over a team that finished runners-up in the World Cup.

"I'm aware of my record, but I'm fortunate to be part of two very talented teams and the people in those teams work very hard to get into those positions," Itoje said.

"I'm fully aware that these things are happening not due to my own power. When you go out and play rugby it's not one man versus 15.

"I know without my team-mates, the guys either side of me, without the coaches and back-room staff, none of this could happen.

"I'm very fortunate to be part of two extremely well coached, motivated teams and each individual in each of those two squads always wants to get better. I'm just fortunate to be in that position.

"Obviously we're happy with how it's gone so far but it's not over. We've got another huge game to come.

"To play for England is pretty special and you don't want to take anything for granted. We want to finish the tour well this weekend."

Itoje has been among the stars of the series, his athleticism, stamina and power proving to be a key weapon against Australia.

His speed across the ground helps counter the lack of pace in the back row and it was his tackle on Scott Fardy that produced the turnover in the build-up to Owen Farrell's series-sealing try at AAMI Park last Saturday.

"If there is a difference in me now, the most significant one is experience. I've now played in a number of fairly big games and had the experience of big pressure," he said.

"I'm now much more relaxed in the build-up to games and I have more clarity of thought. That eases tensions going into these big occasions.

"Growing up, playing for England is what I wanted to do. As a schoolboy I'd watch them play on the summer tours and in the Six Nations and every opportunity I get I'd love to put on the shirt."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph