Former Wallaby may pull on boots for the Rats
FORMER Wallabies second-rower Justin Harrison has been named to play for Southern Cross University in its 50-year anniversary game in Far North Coast rugby union tomorrow.
He last played for the Gold Rats in the 1993 grand final and is expected to spend some time on the field against arch-rivals Lismore at Maurie Ryan Oval.
The 45-year-old has been named at No 8 and was at Byron Bay today as the guest speaker at the Old Tie Rugby lunch.
"I spent my whole career trying to move to five-eighth or wing so I'm a bit disappointed there,” Harrison said.
"I'll have to see how I'm feeling in the morning to determine if I break out into anything more than a walk.
"I always managed to get selected in teams which had good players and that covered for my lack of skill.
"My last game for the Rats was the grand final against Ballina at Oakes Oval. It was my very first year of rugby and we won 41-5 so it wasn't a bad way to go out.”
Harrison played 34 games for Australia between 2001 and 2004 and was part of the 2003 World Cup on home soil.
He also played a combined 98 games of Super Rugby at the ACT Brumbies and the NSW Waratahs before finishing his professional career at Bath in England in 2009.
He is still involved with rugby in Australia and took over as general manager of the Classic Wallabies this year where he still plays some games.
There were about 100 people at the Byron Bay Bowling Club today with money raised to support junior rugby union on the Far North Coast.
It has been running for about 20 years and they aim to raise another $8000 to support players who made representative teams this season.
Meanwhile, Harrison will be among a big crowd expected at the game today before the Gold Rats' anniversary dinner at the UniBar.
"I laced my first pair of boots as a 19-year-old in Lismore; 17 years later I came up for air retiring as a professional and some of the best memories I have are still from here,” Harrison said.
"Just about every stadium I played in around the world there would be someone there that knew me as a Gold Rat, and that's pretty special.”
Kick-off is 3.15pm.
In other games today:
Wollongbar-Alstonville tackles Lennox Head at Williams Reserve, Lennox Head.
Casino hosts Ballina at Albert Park, Casino.
Byron Bay plays Casuarina at Byron Bay.
Grafton takes on Bangalow at Grafton Rugby Park.
Southern Cross University: 1 Mitch Bird, 2 Isaac Penfold, 3 Pat Kelly, 4 Peter Murphy, 5 Riley Spencer, 6 Matt Murray, 7 Kirk Taylor-Brown, 8 Justin Harrison, 9 Matt Anderson, 10 Will Hawkins, 11 Rhys Harrison, 12 Josh Wilson, 13 Matt McMullen, 14 Jake Henry, 15 Michael McMullen. Coach: Harry Witt.
Lismore: 1 Marcus Ellison, 2 Cameron Bryant, 3 Greg Martin, 4 Gavin Tulk, 5 Ben Carroll, 6 Tyler Coveney, 7 Brenden Williams (c), 8 James Grubb, 9 Jack Everingham, 10 William Fairweather, 11 Sam Nilon, 12 James Whitby, 13 Jake Lennon, 14 Perry Daly, 15 Andrew Sky. Coach: Ray Taylor.
Referee: Graham Cook.
Lennox Head: 1 Angus Langfield, 2 John Young, 3 John Clark, 4 Callum Jones, 5 Luke Smith, 6 Kyle Wilson, 7 Jackson Gardnir, 8 Hayden Blair (c), 9 Abe Goldsmith, 10 Billy Goldsmith, 11 Willis Parker, 12 Sean Watkins, 13 Callum S Jones, 14 Jack Norman, 15 Sam Fitzgerald. Coach: Rob Fish.
Wollongbar-Alstonville: 1 Benji Tiatia, 2 Bill Johnston, 3 Brandon Whitney, 4 Matt Scott, 5 Josh Galbraith, 6 Austin Markwort, 7 Justyn Keir, 8 Lloyd Morgan, 9 Louis Hollman, 10 Ben Damen (c), 11 Josh Damen, 12 Daniel Damen, 13 Alex Gibbon, 14 James Vidler, 15 Sam Kerry. Coach: Paul Jeffery.
Referee: Dylan Harris.
Casino: 1 Blake Birmingham, 2 Ben Collison, 3 Scott Kenny, 4 Callum McLennan, 5 Marcus Cusack, 6 Josef Lalabalavu, 7 Elliott Birmingham, 8 Ratu Vio Batibasaga, 9 Stephen Murchie (c), 10 Nick Armstrong, 11 Nick Benn, 12 Sililo Stavenow, 13 Harrison Cusack, 14 Korey Bennett, 15 Wilson Lovokuro. Coach: Doug Murray
Ballina: 1 Isaac Pratten, 2 Hayden Warneke, 3 Callum Turner, 4 Jakob O'Connor, 5 Inasa Naulivou, 6 Brad Brown (c), 7 Luke Kliese, 8 Stan Lolohea, 9 Nick Watson, 10 Siosuia Koloto, 11 Leigh Foster, 12 Grant Knight, 13 Tupou Lolohea, 14 Romulo Leweniqila, 15 Tom Watson. Coach: Chris Hickey.
Referee: Will Palmer.
Byron Bay: 1 Jordan Elliott, 2 Dan Morgan, 3 Duane Pakai, 4 Ed Randall, 5 Will Aisake, 6 Ben Wood, 7 Craig Wallace (c), 8 Courtney Raymond, 9 Tom Brooks, 10 Pete Gillespie, 11 Mark Howard, 12 Steve Cilbert, 13 Romey Vassell, 14 Blake Whittakar, 15 James Boozer. Coach: Jeff Watt.
Casuarina Beach: 1 Robert Beacroft, 2 Daniel Heritage, 3 Abraham Buatava, 4 Trent Ryan, 5 Elisio Tagidrau, 6 Matt Worland, 7 Ross Colvin, 8 Mitch Planten, 9 Webb Lillis, 10 Vitori Buatava, 11 Kai George, 12 Rian Olivier, 13 Hiroshi Takeyama , 14 Graham Dodge, 15 Richard White. Coach: Mick Hall.
Referee: Peter Campbell.
Grafton: 1 Jack Anderson, 2 Zac Mason-Gale , 3 Dan Blackman (c), 4 Nick Collie, 5 Declan Collie, 6 Billy Whalan, 7 Tom Tanner, 8 Ed McGrath, 9 Dom Bullock, 10 Adam Smidt, 11 Ryan Spies, 12 Luke Worthing, 13 Dwayne Duke, 14 James Fairweather, 15 Keaton Ingram. Coach: Craig Howe.
Bangalow: 1 Nick Jones(c), 2 Sean Petrou, 3 Neil Moran, 4 Rob Wrightman, 5 Jock Craigie, 6 Jack Bensley, 7 John Turagabeci, 8 David Johnson, 9 Rowan Ozols, 10 Ben Farrow, 11 Sam Campbell, 12 Benson Lockyer, 13 Jed Erickson, 14 Will Warren, 15 Daniel Hill. Coach: Tim Cohen.
Referee: Peter Semmen (New Zealand).