Teimana Harrison could not hide his pride after Northampton Saints came from behind to book their place in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
The men in Black, Green and Gold faced Dragons with a lengthy list of players injured or rested, and after struggling to hit top gear at Rodney Parade while also going down to 13 men for a ten-minute period, found themselves 15 points behind heading into the final 20 minutes of the clash.
But Northampton turned the tie on its head to win 43-39 and secure a quarter-final berth in the process, with Ulster their next opponents at Franklin’s Gardens this coming Saturday (kick-off: 8pm).
Harrison was at his bulldozing best while skippering the side in Newport, crossing the whitewash to kick-start the comeback, and also making a whopping 25 tackles and 13 carries over the 80 minutes.
But the abrasive No.8 insists the whole squad deserved credit for scrapping their way to what looked like an unlikely victory when the chips were down.
“It’s pretty much the story of our season,” he said. “We had a poor first half, then we decided to turn up and start defending well, and we put our game on the pitch in the second half.
“But I’m massively proud of this team – we don’t give up, and you can’t teach that. You can teach all the skills and all the pretty stuff, but you can’t teach heart.
“I’m really proud to be a part of this team.”Teimana Harrison
“To go down to 13 men, it’s a hard place to be, it’s tough to get your head around the disadvantage that you’re at.
“We had a plan if we went down to 14, but we went down to 13 so the plan sort of changed a little bit more, but the boys stuck to it.
“It really showed the character of this team. We’re inexperienced but you can’t write us off.
“The 14 players we were missing on Saturday is a big chunk of our team, so for these young guys to step up, it’s just the DNA we’re trying to instil in this squad. Massive credit to the boys.”