Harris gets Reds’ nod to take Quade’s spot
New Zealand recruit Mike Harris has been chosen to wear Quade Cooper’s Queensland No.10 jersey in Saturday night’s Super Rugby opener against arch-rivals NSW at ANZ Stadium.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie confirmed on Wednesday morning that Harris had beaten fellow five-eighth contender Ben Lucas to the playmaking role following two strong trial displays.
Enigmatic Wallabies flyhalf Cooper will miss the first six rounds of the competition as he finalises his rehabilitation from a knee reconstruction following the injury which ended his World Cup campaign last October.
“It’s a great opportunity but I’ve just been asked to go out there and play my own game to give the team the best chance to win,” Harris said.
Reigning champions Queensland recruited Harris from North Harbour in late 2010 and the former New Zealand Under-20 representative was a revelation at inside centre last season before injuring his knee.
The 23-year-old also made his Reds debut, off the bench, against the Waratahs in round two last year, when NSW delivered a 30-6 thumping.
“It was a proud moment … but from a team perspective it was arguably our most forgettable moment of 2011,” he said.
“We’ve now got the chance to rectify the wrongs from that night.”