Rugby

All Blacks gripe 'stunning'

2012-10-22 14:30
Mike Harris (AFP)
Sydney - All Black gripes about Australia poaching their players have been met with both astonishment and wry grins.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is fuming about Kiwis being "pinched" after Auckland product Mike Harris kicked the Wallabies to a surprise 18-18 Test draw in Brisbane on Saturday.

Hansen called for the Australian Rugby Union to get its house in order and stop stealing players after he was asked whether Harris's display embarrassed the NZRU's talent identification system.

"It's time you start developing your players in your own country," he responded.

A stunned Harris returned serve today by hinting at hypocrisy from the All Blacks who have consistently selected Pacific Islanders in the past, and also played former Australian under-21 halfback Steve Devine a decade ago.

"I was a bit surprised by Steve's comments," the 24-year-old Harris said.

"It's been going on for as long as rugby has been professional, and maybe even further back as well."

Harris wasn't the only former New Zealand underage player in the Wallabies team at Suncorp Stadium as prop Sekope Kepu also defected after failing to crack a Super Rugby start.

It was Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie who sparked the conversion of both and he believes New Zealand's rugby strength will continue to see overlooked aspiring products cross the ditch.

"They've got a lot of players," McKenzie said. "They've probably got too many players in some positions."

A flyhalf or inside centre, Harris was a member of the Blues wider training group while Sydney-born, south Auckland-raised Kepu was outside the Chiefs' contracted-player list.

McKenzie watched with more than pride when Harris kicked five penalties from five attempts and also made a fine fist of fullback against the All Blacks.

"I did have a bit of a giggle when he was kicking goal after goal - just as well we brought him over," he said.

"When I first spoke to Mike he was in the wider training group for the Blues, he wasn't on the fast-track to anywhere. He had three guys in front of him to play Super Rugby.

"It's worked out well for him."

Eligible to play for the Wallabies through an Australian-born grandmother, Harris said he had no regrets.

"As an aspiring rugby player you always want to be playing at the next level and if New Zealand had offered me a Super Rugby jersey things might have been different," he said.

"I'm very thankful to get the chance to play for the Reds and Wallabies."


Read more on:    wallabies  |  mike harris  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Coetzee tempers his delight

2014-04-20 14:27

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
60 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

While the Sharks look like sure winners of the SA Super Rugby Conference, the "battle" for the wooden spoon could well develop into a four-team race. Who eventually props up the table?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.