‘Aussie Mike’ eyes Wallabies spot

By Jim Morton,

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    Queensland Reds sharp-shooter Mike Harris can elevate himself onto the Wallabies bench by piloting University to a Queensland club premiership on Sunday.

    New Zealand product Harris will play just his third match for Uni in the grand final against defending premiers Sunnybank at Ballymore but has a huge role to play.

    The goalkicking No.10 or 12 returns to the five-eighth position where he stared the year for the Reds in a match which doubles as a Test audition for him.

    Quade Cooper’s knee injury will see Kurtley Beale promoted to the Wallabies starting 15 to play South Africa in Pretoria on September 30, leaving a spare spot on the bench.

    With just 10 minutes of on-field action over the past month, Harris is delighted Test coach Robbie Deans has allowed him a late Tuesday flight to the Republic.

    “I’m really excited about it,” he told AAP.

    “Obviously I haven’t played a lot of rugby for the Wallabies so the chance to get some footy in and to play in a grand final is huge.

    “I’m definitely excited to have a go at 10. I haven’t played a lot there this year so it’s good.

    “With Quade needing another operation it opens up a spot and hopefully I have a good showing in the grand final in the 10 jersey to prove my wares and push for that bench spot.

    “I definitely want to grab the chance.”

    Harris will line up against fellow Wallabies squad-members Ben Tapuai and Rob Simmons who will team up for Sunnybank.

    It’s a battle of the 2010 champions (Uni) against the 2011 premiers and both enter the clash in strong form following respective thumpings of Brothers.

    Uni will also feature Reds players James Hanson and Luke Morahan while the Dragons boast Queensland props Greg Holmes and Albert Anae and Melbourne Rebels fullback Richard Kingi.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (45)

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 10:03am
      richard said | September 22nd 2012 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      S & T, I am not interested in looking at some slanted ozzie view of nz rugby. Let me guess, most of those so- called foreigners are of pi descent – with very few exceptions, every one of those players has come through our systems, developed at great time and expense by nz. We DO NOT do what oz does – wait till another country has devloped them , and then poach the finished product. Timani, Kepu, Daniel Manu to name a few. Your super franchises aggressively target our players, who then have to be eligible for oz.

      A more interesting survey would be seeing how many wb’s were born in oz – I’m sure it would be a hell of a lot less than 64%. And please don’t start up on how its only oz’s 4th ranked sport blah, blah blah.

      • September 22nd 2012 @ 10:25am
        Welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        Timani bounced around 3 super rugby franchises for years, he was developed in oz. Kepu was an 8 in NZ, we developed him as a prop.

        • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:18pm
          Jerry said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

          Uh…no. He was converted to prop by Mike Cron as below.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/5341843/Sekope-Kepu-Aussie-No-1-that-got-away

          “After making the New Zealand under-19s, Mike Cron, the All Blacks scrum coach, turned his life upside-down. At the team camp, Cron walked up to Kepu and said: ”You’re moving to the front row. I want to teach you how to be a loosehead.”

          That was in 2004, after which he played NZ U-21’s and for Counties before moving to the Tahs in 2008, gaining Wallaby selection the same year.

          • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:26pm
            welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

            He learned his trade at the Tahs, they taught him to scrummage.

            • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:28pm
              Jerry said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

              Yeah, because Mike Cron – one of the premier scrum coaches in the world – did nothing for him.

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:30pm
                welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                I think he has packed more scrums in Oz than NZ.

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:34pm
                Jerry said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

                Well, yeah – cause it’s been 5 years since he switched. But he’d packed more scrums in NZ when the Wallabies selected him.

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:36pm
                welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

                Yeah dont know about that. he was an 8 in nz

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:37pm
                Jerry said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

                Reading comprehension not so great, then?

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:41pm
                welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                Oh no i understand where you are coming from, I just dont agree. If you think stuff nz is great reference material, well then thats up to you. I reckon the Tahs developed his scrummaging

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:47pm
                Jerry said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

                You think Stuff makes up quotes? Cause here’s what they quote Kepu as saying about that meeting with Cron.

                ”That was it. From that moment I never went back to No 8,” Kepu said yesterday.

                How about an Australian source – maybe they’re misquoting him too.

                http://www.pandasports.com.au/2011/07/26/kepu-keen-to-repay-mentors-with-wallabies-win/

                “It was Mike (Cron) who helped convert me from a guy who was a bit chubby for a No. 8 into a prop before the final trial for the NZ Under-19s (in 2005),” Kepu said.

                How about his profile on the Tah’s website?
                http://www.waratahs.com.au/Waratahs/Team/SuperRugbySquad/PlayerPage/tabid/182/playerid/17/Default.aspx

                “Current All Blacks forwards coach Mike Cron shifted Kepu from the back row to prop, where he enjoyed enormous successes with the Waikato Chiefs and Counties Manukau between 2005 and 2007”

                Or his Wallaby Player Profile?
                http://www.rugby.com.au/wallabies/TheTeam/WallabiesProfiles/ProfilePage/tabid/1513/playerid/81/Default.aspx

                “Kepu is a former No 8 who was converted into a prop by the current New Zealand assistant coach, and front row specialist Mike Cron.”

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 10:16am
      Patrick said | September 22nd 2012 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      How many Wallabies have come through systems other than Australian? Mike Harris would be the exception, thus the constant piss taking on the fact he’s a kiwi

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 10:21am
      Tigranes said | September 22nd 2012 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      I suspect the wallabies capped Harris to make sure he can’t play for the all blacks

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 10:34am
      Welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 10:34am | ! Report

      Mils Muliaina, Jerome Kaino, Isaia Toeava where all born in Samoa. Ben Franks who was born in Australia. Pots and kettles Our kiwi brothers!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha Ha HA HA Ha Ha HA HA HA HA HA. All that crap about quade cooper and there is foreign imports in the All Blacks ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:25am
        stillmatic1 said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        mils was 2 years old when his family moved to invercargill. kaino was 4. toevea was 7. ben franks played no age group footy in oz. mike harris is a grown man who has been in oz for 6months FFS!! not all kettles are the same colour my friend.

        • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:34am
          bob said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:34am | ! Report

          They are still foreign born:) The wallabies developed Quade cooper, Digby, Pocock to name a few. Stick is given about them playing for oz regularly. It is pots calling the kettle black and its blatant hypocracy how ever you look at it. They are the same colour my colour blind friend.

          • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:50am
            stillmatic1 said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:50am | ! Report

            digby is fine. he was 5. quade was a teenager for gods sake. think he ever grew up wanting to be a wallaby? pocock is on the record saying he didnt think too much about what the wallabies meant whilst he was growing up. fact is, kaino, mils, toeva, franks, all grew up in NZ, are a product of the system from an early age and apart from lineage dont have much in the way of identity to their birth countries. like all people they enjoy knowing the history of where they come from, but do they identify with samoa?

            the argument is not simply about where someone is born, especially if the person moved before he could tie his own shoelaces!! does nicole kidman identify with being hawaiian? mel gibson with america? mike harris/quade cooper with australia? of course not. where did they grow up and learn during their formative years? nationhood is a relatively new idea, but one that ties people together, for better or worse.

            i appreciate that it could be easily cleared up if birth place was the only factor, but if your 6 months old, 2 years old etc when moving from your birth country, then how can you identify with it (unless your parents really push the value of home)?

            the likes of samo, timani, harris played age group rugby for other countries and yet we have a system that lets them jump ship based on residency!! or a long lost relative. or the fact they saw uluru on a postcard.

            • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:59am
              welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:59am | ! Report

              I dont see how quade is any different. Cooper became one of three young players to break the record for most Australian schoolboy caps. I dare say that he is a product of the Australian rugby system. Pocock played Australian School boys with Quade Cooper. I am satisfied that Australia developed him.

              Mike Harris playing for the wallabies, I dont like it at all.

              Doesnt change the fact that a stupid amount of kiwi’s get upset about foreign born players in the wallabies when there are foreign born players in the All Blacks. I accept foreign born players in the wallabies as there are many foreign born Australians.

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:06pm
                stillmatic1 said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                quade is definitely on the fence in that regard welsh. and i agree with you, that oz did take over in his development. but did he ever want to be a wallaby before the age of 15?

                again, its not simply about birth place. is there no difference between a 2 year old and a 15 year old, or in the case of samo/timani, 19 years old, or harris as a 22 year old? if there isnt, then heaven help us, might us well get rid of national identity all together. maybe then we wont have to hate the yanks so much, hey!?

              • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:21pm
                welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                I dont see how wanting to grow up being a wallaby has anything to do with it. Tana Umunga wanted to play league. he only started playing union after he got home sick with the newcastle knights. he didn’t want to be an all black growing up.

                I reckon drawing the line on when and where poaching starts is up to the IRB and I dont mind the system as it is know. Although I don’t like the whole country of your grandparents business. As I said I don’t like Mike Harris playing for Australia. I don’t mind the residency rules. I believe its three years and that seems fair to me. People migrate around the world and that is a fact of life. a professional rugby players career is very short so three years is a long time if you migrated for that reason.

                I don’t know about the jumping ship comment though? If you dont like the system maybe you could do something about it.

                The system as it is allows for your foreign imports as it does ours. The people who migrated to NZ and the people that migrated to Australia.

          • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:58am
            AWCMONREF said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:58am | ! Report

            The Wallabies developed Quade Cooper, as a Kiwi I have to say that is one of the greatest statements I’ve ever seen, now don’t ever blame us for his ( cough/splutter ) talent on and off the field…….

          • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:41pm
            Kuruki said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

            IMO there is a huge difference between moving in your nappies and moving as a high school kid.
            It is the early ages where the passion and skills for the game are learned and taught. Cooper already had his rugby roots sewn before he moved to Aussie as a teenager. In comparison someone like Mills was still pooping his pants when he moved to NZ.
            Samoa can be credited with supplying Mills fresh air for two years where as the New Zealand system can be credited with developing half of Coopers rugby life. That imo makes things significantly different.

            • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:50pm
              welsh said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

              just accept the all blacks have foreign born talent as the wallabies do, take a deep breath and accept it.

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:06am
      Rob of Sydney said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:06am | ! Report

      Mr Red
      So what your Rugby Players are not born Australia. Its doesnt stop you claiming showbiz celebz
      JUST TO NAME A FEW – N Kidman, Mel Gibson, R Crowe, G Pearce, I Fisher, H Weaving, AC DC, S Worthington
      AND SO ON AND SO ON. Wake up and smell the world mate

      • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:12am
        bob said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        I dont see them proclaiming to the world they are Kiwi, they could easily set the record straight, but they don’t? weird?

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 11:09am
      Jewel said | September 22nd 2012 @ 11:09am | ! Report

      Agree with Rugby Tragic’s comments acknowledging our multicultural hertiage .

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