Teimana Harrison views Sunday’s clash with the Barbarians as a redemptive occasion to prove his worth in an England jersey.
All of Harrison’s five caps were won in 2016, including the final Test of a 3-0 series win in Australia that saw the Northampton back row replaced after only 31 minutes on account of being outmuscled at the breakdown.
The looming non-cap showdown at Twickenham ends a three-year international exile he admits took its toll on his confidence.
“I guess there is a little bit of a point to prove,” said Harrison. “I haven’t had the best run in an England shirt so it would be nice to get out there and put in a good shift with the boys.
“I took a little bit of rebuilding after 2016 but at the time I was focusing too much on ‘I have to do this, I have to make England again’.
“Your confidence does take a hit when something like that happens. You’ve got to get your head down and work yourself out of it.
“So I put England to one side and thought if I played well, my performance would get me there. Worrying about it wasn’t going to do anything.
“I went away and thought ‘If I play well for the club, I may get an opportunity’. I’m quite lucky, I have got an opportunity so it’s time to get my head down and get stuck in.”
Harrison’s preparation for Sunday has been interrupted by the birth of his first child, a boy named Wolfe.
“I’ve been doing a bit of back and forth from Northampton but I’m pretty set on what I’ve got to do, and my missus has backed me so I’m preparing the best I can,” added Harrison.
Exeter boss Rob Baxter talks to the press after his team loses 34-37 against Saracens in the Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham.
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