Harris Relishing Shark Dive4th November 2004
The sold-out signs went up at Edgeley Park during the week, and with a capacity 10,500 crowd lying in wait, Harris said: I just cant wait to get my hands dirty and get stuck in.
The 29-year-old Kiwi spent last season with the Celtic Warriors and qualified for Wales on residency grounds recently, but speaking on Fridays tester against the second-placed Sharks, said: Its an exciting time to be coming into the team.
Its a big game against Sale, who are right near the top of the league, but weve just come off two wins against big teams in Newport and Perpignan.
Its a sell-out down there, and the fans are obviously behind them because theyve been playing some good attacking rugby, so it should be an entertaining game.
Harris came on to the market following the disbandment of the Celtic Warriors regional team in Wales, and said of the situation he found himself in: What happened with the Warriors took place quite late in the season, so it was a big shock and made it difficult to find a team in time for the new season.
I went back to my old club, Bridgend, and did some youth development coaching stuff while still playing for them and doing my own training as well, but I had it in my contract at Bridgend that if any professional club came in for me I would be able to leave.
I was delighted when Newcastle spoke to me again after making contact in the summer. I did have the option of going to an Irish province, but having seen the set-up at Newcastle and spoken to some people about the place, my mind was made up.
The north-easterners have made a sound first impression on their new recruit, who said: I arrived on Monday, got settled in and was straight into training. I had a one-on-one session with Steve Black, and then the team training after that has gone really well.
Ive been keeping fit while Ive been with Bridgend for the last few months, and I have a decent base, but I suppose Ill find out for real tomorrow when Im up to Premiership match intensity.
Speaking on his new team-mates, he added: Ive played against Colin Charvis before, and am obviously looking to working with guys like Matt Burke and Jonny Wilkinson, but the thing that has really impressed me is the quality of the local guys in the squad and some of the youngsters in training. The skill level is extremely high among everyone in every position, and theres a lot of talent right throughout the club from what Ive seen so far.
You can sense the atmosphere among the players. Everyone comes in first thing on a Monday morning for training and theres a great buzz there. The guys are really excited about every game, and thats certainly how Im feeling about tomorrows match at Sale.
The Falcons are back on Premiership duty after two productive weeks in the Heineken Cup, and Harris insisted: Weve come into this game from a different competition, but that doesnt matter at all, as the focus is on the result, not the name of the tournament.
Harris has been a frustrated spectator during the recent wins over Newport Gwent Dragons and Perpignan as his transfer did not come through in time for the Heineken Cup deadline.
I love the Heineken Cup and have been watching it for years, he said.
I was lucky enough to play in it with the Celtic Warriors last season, when we went to the eventual winners London Wasps and beat them at their home stadium, so that was a great memory.
I cant play for the Falcons in the competition until after the pool stages, but theyve had two great wins already, and if they continue in that form then hopefully the quarter finals is not an unrealistic prospect, by which time Ill be able to be in contention for a place.
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