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Harris gets Reds’ nod to take Quade’s spot

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    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.”

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • February 22nd 2012 @ 11:35am
      Gary Russell-Sharam said | February 22nd 2012 @ 11:35am | ! Report

      Always thought he was the logical choice to replace Cooper. With a bit of luck this season he will make the Wallabies side and may well be able to be signed to the Reds in the future to permanently replace Cooper when Cooper leaves to play League with SBW. The Reds would be mad to let Harris go after this season, he was a marque signing for two seasons from NZ however he has an Aussie rellie that will allow him to play for the Wallabies, so I for one hope he stays and realizes his potential here in Qld

      • February 22nd 2012 @ 11:48am
        Mr T said | February 22nd 2012 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        He wasn’t a marquee signing, nor a development signing. As you say he has an Australian grandmother so he was Wallabies eligible from the get go.

    • February 22nd 2012 @ 12:37pm
      Justin said | February 22nd 2012 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

      He has played some good matches but I think so far he is over-hyped. He had no responsibility really before his injury. Lets see how he steps up at 10.

      Lets not forget he was basically not rated in NZ and suddenly he is a world beater and Wallaby in waiting. I’m not saying he isnt but lets see what he does this year.

      • February 22nd 2012 @ 2:09pm
        Markus said | February 22nd 2012 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

        Agreed. He was skillful and strong at 12 for the Reds last season, but that was playing outside a firing Genia and Cooper.

        And as a 10 he was unable to even get a contract with any of the five NZ teams, so there must be something lacking in his game. It may very well be his ability to lead a backline.
        I hope that is not the case though, and that he carries on the strong form he showed last year prior to his injury.

        • February 22nd 2012 @ 2:28pm
          Bigbaz said | February 22nd 2012 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

          You may be right Markus but that was a couple of years ago. He’s a big srong boy with undoubted class and he might just have matured into the job.

          • February 22nd 2012 @ 2:36pm
            Justin said | February 22nd 2012 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

            It was only last year. I think we all think “he might” but lets keep it real for now…

        • February 22nd 2012 @ 8:34pm
          Pillock said | February 22nd 2012 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

          Beau Robinson, Samo etc where players who could not get a contract with any other Super teams yet they where all in the top 3 or 4 in their position last season. McKenzie has shown he can get good results with players no one else wants.
          So would not get to carried away with Harris not being signed by the NZ clubs.

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