HAMILTON fullback Ben Harriss was struggling to walk before Christmas due to a back injury.
Yesterday he ran opposite Waratahs hired gun Israel Folau, and tomorrow he will play for Waratahs A against Fiji at Allianz Stadium.
Harriss and Warnervale prop Kevin McNamara were this week drafted into the Tahs A squad for the clash against the Pacific nation, which is a curtain-raiser to the Super 15 battle between the Waratahs and Rebels.
He trained with the Tahs for the first time yesterday.
‘‘It was pretty exciting marking Israel Folau and Drew Mitchell,’’ Harriss said. ‘‘I didn’t expect to be training with the full Waratahs.
‘‘It was a little intimidating at first, but the boys got you involved straight away.
‘‘Size-wise I was a bit small, but everything else was OK.’’
Included in the two-hour hit-out was a kicking session with former Wallaby Matt Burke.
‘‘He was awesome,’’ Harriss said. ‘‘We have two more training sessions tomorrow and another light run on match morning.’’
Harriss expects to be on the bench for the game.
‘‘We have Lachy Turner and Jimmy Hilgendorf and a few other Waratahs coming back from injury,’’ he said
Harriss’s call-up continues a remarkable 12 months. He won the Country Championship with Newcastle last season, earned NSW Country selection, was a part of Hamilton’s premiership team and made the Australian under-20 train-on squad.
But his off-season was dogged by a back injury from which he returned to training only a month ago.
‘‘They thought I had a fractured vertebrae and then it got diagnosed as something else,’’ he said. ‘‘I was struggling to walk for a while.
‘‘I ended up resting it for a couple of months and it has come good. I have been back in the gym and training with Newcastle for a month.’’
He has been approached by several Sydney clubs but is content to stay in Newcastle at this stage.
‘‘I have thought about it, but I’m in the third year of my electrician apprenticeship and want to finish that first,’’ he said. ‘‘With the British Lions playing Combined Country in Newcastle, I’d like to be a part of that.
‘‘It’s something I have been working towards since the game was announced. This is a good step towards it and hopefully gets my name out there.’’
THRILL: Ben Harriss.