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Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam

Johan van Graan has quietly set about improving every facet of the West Country club and results are starting to come

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'It would be insane if we could win. It would be a historic win'

By PA
(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Chris Harris is relishing his first crack at New Zealand and has vowed that Scotland will “throw the kitchen sink at it” as they bid to make history on Sunday.

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The 31-year-old Gloucester centre missed out on the last meeting with the All Blacks, which took place at Murrayfield the week after he made his debut for the national team against Samoa in November 2017.

Harris – who is from Cumbria but qualifies for Scotland through his Edinburgh-born grandmother – would love for his maiden outing against the most storied team in the sport to coincide with his team’s first-ever victory in the fixture.

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Asked if facing the All Blacks was the stuff of childhood dreams, Harris said: “Rugby was never a big thing for me growing up. I enjoyed watching it but it was never something I thought I’d be even close to doing professionally, let alone representing Scotland.

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“But since getting involved with Scotland, this is the one fixture I’ve wanted to play in. It obviously doesn’t happen very often and I missed out on it when we were due to play them on our summer tour and it got cancelled due to Covid. I’m really excited to play against the All Blacks.

“It’s a Test everyone’s looking forward to. We’ll throw the kitchen sink at it, give it a good crack and see where we are.

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“It’s an opportunity to test our defence against one of the best attacks and to test our attack against a decent defence. It’s an exciting opportunity to test ourselves against New Zealand.

“It would be insane if we could win. It would be a historic win. That is the opportunity for us. We’re looking forward to getting out there.”

Scotland laboured to an unconvincing 28-12 win over Fiji last weekend while the All Blacks ran out 55-23 winners over Wales in Cardiff. Harris believes they can bridge the gap this weekend, however.

“They’ll have seen us play against Fiji and it wasn’t our best performance and they put 50 points on Wales so they’ll be pretty confident they can come and do a job on us but we’re not going to let that happen,” he said.

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Scotland supporters have been buoyed by the return of Finn Russell this week after he was omitted from the initial squad for the autumn internationals.

Harris revealed the Racing 92 stand-off has slotted in seamlessly since his recall.

“Finn’s obviously a quality player and he’s no different to what he has been in previous camps,” said Harris. “He’s pretty chilled around the place but when it comes to training, he’s on it and he makes things happen.”

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RUGBYPASS+ Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam
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