We sat down with Northampton Saints back row Teimana Harrison ahead of a crucial Gallagher Premiership clash away at Sale Sharks this weekend…
Q: After the defeat to Leicester Tigers last weekend, has this been one of those weeks where you want another game to come along quickly?
TH: After watching the game, and getting frustrated with it, and picking apart what we could have done better, we are quite eager to go out there and put it right. It was very frustrating watching it because there were a lot of opportunities that we missed and a lot of opportunities that we could have capitalised on and come away with points, but we weren’t clinical enough. It was frustrating, but I’m really looking forward to this weekend because it’s a good chance for us to put it right.
Q: How hard was it to have to chase the game from such an early stage last Saturday?
TH: It’s tough, although we’ve shown before that we can do it – at Exeter away, we went two scores down and we managed to come back and win that one. But when you give a team 30 points – and a team like Leicester – you’re asking for trouble. We gave ourselves too much to do and I think we ended up chasing it a little too hard and we made mistakes that they capitalised on. That’s a valuable lesson for us, moving forward.
Q: Was the main frustration with last weekend not being able to back up the good performance against Worcester Warriors the previous week?
TH: Yeah, Worcester came here and we put a record scoreline on them, and then the Tigers came here. With it being a derby, if you do lose, you want it to be a close game, but they put a record score on us instead. It’s frustrating and you need to get your learnings out of that quick, or it’s going to affect us this weekend.
Q: There was some good news at the Club this week, with Alex Mitchell, who has been in fantastic form, getting his England call-up. Was that just what he deserved?
TH: One hundred per cent. I think he’s been on fire, both last season and this season. It also gives hope to all the other boys that if you play well, you’re going to get recognised and you’re going to get your shot, so I hope that he gets a crack this weekend, against Tonga, and I hope he goes and smokes it and cements himself in the squad. There are a lot of in-form nines in the Premiership and Mitch is up there scrapping with the best of them. It was a bit of a surprise that he wasn’t called up initially, but I’m happy that it’s now happened for him.
Q: How are you finding things this season? Does it feel like you’re getting back into a routine, after the madness of last year?
TH: It’s obviously nice to have the crowd back because they’ve got a massive part [to play] in our performances. The Gardens is an amazing place to play when there’s a packed-out crowd. I’ve been enjoying playing – I’ve enjoyed not being injured, but I’ve just got to figure out my performance and get it back where it needs to be.
Q: That leads us to our next question; how do you feel you’ve been going?
TH: I’ve been alright, even though I’ve not been anything special. I don’t think I’ve been playing as well as I need to be, so the onus is on me. I know that I need to work on my game and figure out a way to put that out on the field. Again, I don’t think I’ve been playing terribly, but I’ve definitely not been playing where I need to be.
Q: We’re heading into the international period and there are some players missing through injury, as well as some lads being away. Just how big is this month coming up?
TH: No matter who we put out on the field, everyone is going to give it 100 per cent and I’m confident that we can still come away with the win at Sale. We’re trying to get our learnings up to speed, so it’s been a good week and the lads are looking forward to Saturday.
Q: What have you made of Sale so far? Is it a surprise to not see them higher up the table, given how they’ve played for the last couple of seasons?
TH: They’re a good squad. You look at everyone in the Premiership and everyone has got a pretty bloody good team. You look at Worcester; we beat them over there and then they go and beat Sale. I think they’ll probably be looking at the table and thinking they deserve to be higher, given their squad and given how well they’ve done for the last couple of years. They’ll be coming out fighting.
Q: Are Saints going to be men on a mission as well, come matchday?
TH: One hundred per cent. You can count on that.