Mike Harris caused a huge stir when he made his debut for the Reds against the Rebels earlier this year. Scoring several tries in the space of a few minutes, everyone wanted to know who he was and, the ultimate question, could he be a Wallaby. Currently on the Reds casualty list thanks to a knee injury sustained in round 12 of the season, Harris has proved to be an impressive signing by coach Ewen McKenzie and the Reds. He was gracious enough to talk to us about all things rugby!
Name: Michael Harris
Nickname(s): Mike, Harry, Lauurrry
Super Rugby Team: Reds
Representative: NZ U20
How are you recovering after undergoing knee surgery earlier in the season?
It’s going well however it’s taking a little longer than expected due to a chunk of bone I cracked off the back of my kneecap that didn’t show up until they operated on it.
Do you think you will be ready for the finals?
I’m doing anything and everything at the moment to race back so hopefully fingers crossed I’ll be out there running around.
How/Why did you start playing rugby?
I started at 4 years old in bare feet with frost on the grass and loved it.
Who has been the greatest influence on your career?
Definitely my family (very sporty and rugby orientated).
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’d have to say my debut game at Suncorp Stadium vs. the Rebels. I scored a couple of tries in the space of a couple of minutes and that felt pretty amazing.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Injuries and also missing out on being selected into an under 7s rep team when I knew I deserved to make it. (haha) Although looking back now it was probably a good thing, I was so gutted it made me work even harder.
Who is the toughest player you played against?
Coming up against Ma Nonu straight out of school.
What is your favourite stadium to play in?
Suncorp or Newlands (Cape Town).
You signed a two-year deal with the Reds last year, how are you enjoying your time at the QLD franchise.
I’m loving it. They’re a great group of young guys who are well coached and are all playing for each other. Ohhh and winning obviously helps
The Reds just finished top of the Super Rugby ladder, how do you think the team will go in the finals series?
I think we’ll do well, although I’m probably a little bias. I know that we can play a lot of different game plans/styles so I think that will help us a lot if things aren’t going to plan and we need to adjust. Finals footy is very different though and the season gone doesn’t count for much except for home advantage, so we will have to be on our game to win it.
Which Super Rugby player has impressed you the most?
Which Super Rugby team has impressed you the most?
Actually I have to say the Highlanders (at the start of the season). They were definitely punching above their weight and really surprised a lot of people, including me. That’s what I tend to look for.
Who do you think are the team to beat now?
Apart from us? Haha The Crusaders, they have a lot of finals experience and have been there and done it many times before. They seem to lift a few gears come this time in the season. Hopefully they will have to travel to Africa which will slow them down.
All Blacks or Wallabies?
You have already played for New Zealand in the U20s sqaud, but are eligible to become a Wallaby through your Australian-born Grandmother. Would you consider switching from the black jersey to the gold one?
Yeah for sure. I’m with the Reds for at least two seasons and it’s definitely a goal of mine to play test rugby and make the Wallabies.
Are you looking forward to this year’s Rugby World Cup?
Yeah its going be massive. I personally would rather see it played in dry conditions though. It would make for a better spectacle with higher skill execution and you would see more risks taken by players.
Who do you think will be the team to beat at this year’s Rugby World Cup?
To be honest I’m not too sure. I think because of the weather conditions in New Zealand at the time it’s played, Northern hemisphere teams and South Africans have an advantage with their traditional game plans. In saying that, I think it’s anyone’s tournament. Haha sitting on the fence.
You’ve recently joined twitter, has this changed the way you interact with your fans?
Haha yeah jumped on twitter last week @mikeymikeharris. I’m still learning but it’s going well so far, Quade’s been teaching me. It’s actually been very humbling with the amount of support and kind words from so many fans that I guess I didn’t know where out there. So yes very positive so far
What advice would you give to kids who dream of playing professional rugby?
Practice, practice and more practice.
Work hard on all areas of the game to become the best complete player that you can be. Use disappointments along the way for motivation and come back bigger, faster, stronger!
Any last words?
Go the Reds!