Rugby: Happy hooker is 'living the dream'

By Ben Guild

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Including Te Puke Sports, hooker Nathan Harris is now the member of four different rugby squads. Photo/Andrew Warner
Including Te Puke Sports, hooker Nathan Harris is now the member of four different rugby squads. Photo/Andrew Warner

Nathan Harris is growing accustomed to wearing different hats.

In the last fortnight he has mixed with his Te Puke Sports teammates, been named as one of only two hookers in the 2014 Bay of Plenty Steamers squad and returned to the Chiefs for the Super 15 run home after spending time with the All Blacks.

Harris, speaking ahead of the Chiefs' first training run back on Monday afternoon, was pleased Te Puke Sports had toppled Mount Maunganui to take a commanding lead at the top of the Baywide rugby competition, but was turning his attention to work with his Super Rugby side.

"It's good to be back and among the boys," he said, while admitting he had some catching up to do after being away with the national squad.

The week was about attention to detail and preparing to play the fifth-placed Highlanders in a must-win clash, with talk coming out of the camp suggesting the Chiefs were preparing to change the pattern they had been using for the last two seasons.

"It's just really looking at ourselves - we want to make the playoffs and we've set ourselves that goal for the year."

Harris did not mind the Super Rugby season being split up by the three-test series against England. "I guess it's a good opportunity to have a break and catch up with family for those guys not lucky enough to be playing for the All Blacks."

Time in camp and sitting with the All Blacks reserves in Auckland and Hamilton have given the former Tauranga Boys' College First XV star a taste of, and for, international rugby.

Good feedback from the All Blacks coaches, who have identified areas of the young rake's game that need work, had left Harris with little doubt as to what he needs to do to earn himself a black jumper.

"I've basically got three weeks to impress. I'm looking forward to this weekend and am taking every day as it comes. I'm living the dream, basically."

The Chiefs fly to Dunedin tomorrow morning ahead of their match with the Highlanders on Friday night at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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