Wednesday 28 September 2016

England turn to 'streetfighter' Harrison

Duncan Bech

Published 24/06/2016 | 02:30

Harrison will win his second cap, replacing James Haskell, who sustained a foot injury. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Harrison will win his second cap, replacing James Haskell, who sustained a foot injury. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

England have selected Teimana Harrison at openside flanker in the only change made for tomorrow's attempt to complete a series whitewash over Australia.

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Harrison will win his second cap, replacing James Haskell, who sustained a foot injury in the 23-7 victory in Melbourne that established an unassailable 2-0 lead Down Under.

The rugged New Zealand-born back row has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Northampton and is preferred to Jack Clifford in Sydney.

"Teimana's a bit of a streetfighter. He doesn't mind throwing it around a bit and we're going to need that. So he's nice and competitive in that No 7 spot," said coach Eddie Jones.

"It was a tough decision between Harrison and Clifford but we feel starting the game with Harrison and finishing it with Clifford will give us the best 80 minutes in that position.

"Teimana has trained well throughout the tour and deserves his spot. He's an excellent defender and his robustness will be important to us at the start of the game."

Harrison made his debut against Wales at Twickenham last month and performed well in a team that was missing players from Aviva Premiership finalists Saracens and Exeter.

Modest

The 23-year-old is a strong carrier and tackler, despite his modest size for a modern back-row, and is very strong over the ball, but in Haskell he is replacing arguably the player of the series.

Jack Nowell has completed the return to play protocols for concussion so retains his place on the left wing as part of an unchanged backline.

England will seal a 3-0 whitewash if they prevail in Sydney, three months after winning a first Grand Slam for 13 years.

"We've treated this week like a dress rehearsal for the World Cup because that what we're always building towards," Jones said.

"To win a World Cup you have to win three big games in a row - we've won two so this third game is the most important game we'll play all year. It will be a good indication of where we are as a team.

"We are confident we can finish the job off with a win."

Australia have made three changes, bringing in centre Matt Toomua and second-rows Will Skelton and Rob Simmons.

England - M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, O Farrell, J Nowell; G Ford, B Youngs; M Vunipola, D Hartley (capt), D Cole, M Itoje, G Kruis, C Robshaw, T Harrison, B Vunipola. Reps: J George, M Mullan, P Hill, J Launchbury, C Lawes, J Clifford, D Care, E Daly.

Australia - I Folau; D Haylett-Petty, T Kuridrani, M Toomua, R Horne; B Foley, N Phipps; J Slipper S Moore (capt), S Kepu, W Skelton, R Simmons, S Fardy, M Hooper, S McMahon. Reps (from): T Polota-Nau, S Sio, G Holmes, A Coleman, D Mumm, W Palu, N Frisby, C Leali'ifano, T Naiyaravoro.

Irish Independent

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