David Harvey’s dream debut
Good things come to those who wait. The Western Force’s David Harvey knows this all too well.
Harvey is the last-minute signing that helped the Force to an unlikely and dramatic 21-20 win over the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
Harvey only joined the Western Australia side four days before the ‘Tahs game, as cover for the Force’s growing injury-affected squad.
Ironically, Harvey was plucked right out of the Sydney club competition. The 29-year old impressed Force coach Richard Graham in the reserve grade team’s 61-5 thrashing of Sydney club side West Harbour the week before, and was in line for a bench spot for the ‘Tahs match.
Then there was a bit of luck – regular fullback Cameron Shepherd had to pull out, and Harvey was pencilled in to make his unlikely Super Rugby debut.
And what a debut it was.
Harvey was one of the best on the field for the Force, a calm presence at the back and deft with the boot. It wasn’t a flawless performance, but a very impressive one which saw him score 16 of the Force’s 21 points at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Harvey backed up Brett Sheehan to score an opportunistic try, kicked three penalties and converted his own try.
He’s only been signed by the Force for four games, but I can see that being extended, most likely with him being moved into his preferable position of flyhalf. The Force have been rudderless this season since they cut Willie Ripia.
James Stannard is not a number 10, but a number nine filling in at the pivot role. The Force’s backline will get much better service and direction with Harvey at the helm.
It may have come late, but better late than never for this Brisbane-born player. Long a star in Sydney club rugby, Harvey is the quintessential Australian rugby journeyman, similar to the likes of Dan Parks and Manny Edmonds.
Twice he has won the Ken Catchpole Media, in 2008 and 2011, as the best player in the Sydney comp. He is only the fourth player in Shute Shield history to win it a second time.
Harvey spent seven years at Gordon and also some time at Parramatta, but could never break into the New South Wales Waratahs squad.
He had a stint in the UK with Newbury, Harlequins and Coventry, and played for the Central Coast Rays in the ill-fated Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) in 2007.
Harvey was a member of the Australian Sevens squad in 2007-2008, an Australian Barbarian in 2009 and again in 2011 when he was also captain of the Sydney Rugby representative side.
This year he was in France with second division side Narbonne, but returned home when the possibility of playing Super Rugby came up. So far, Harvey has taken that opportunity with both hands.
It doesn’t get much better than starring on debut in your team’s first Super Rugby win of the season in front of all your friends and family. Beating a team that didn’t want you is the icing on the cake.