Jim Mallinder believes Teimana Harrison should be off to Australia with England
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder is backing Teimana Harrison to win a place on England's summer tour to Australia.
Harrison was outstanding as Saints slipped to a 29-20 Champions Cup quarter-final defeat by Saracens, making a significant impact at Allianz Park through his influence at the breakdown and carrying.
It is proving to be a breakthrough season for the New Zealand-raised 23-year-old back row, who joined the Franklin's Gardens academy in 2011 after being scouted by Dylan Hartley, and he has his sights on the developmental Saxons' summer tour to South Africa.
Mallinder, however, believes he should be setting his sights on the three-Test series against the Wallabies in June with his Derby-born father making him eligible for England.
And while he has recently been starting for Northampton at number eight, Mallinder believes openside is the most natural home for his breakdown expertise.
"Teimana was outstanding. He's been good for us all year. I'd say he should be on the tour to Australia - I definitely think that," Mallinder said.
"He's not particularly big for a number eight but he plays above his weight. Some of his carrying was absolutely immense.
"Teimana and Ben Nutley swarming everywhere looking for turnovers was a massive positive against Saracens.
"He's been improving for us over the last few years and I think we've seen a level of consistent performance from his this year to suggest he can go on and play at a higher level.
"I think he's probably best for England at seven. He plays well for us at number eight, but I think probably at international level he's a seven."