Sheehan takes blame for Harris howler - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheehan takes blame for Harris howler

By Justin Chadwick 19/02/2010 07:37:02 PM Comments (0)

New Western Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan believes he's partly to blame for team-mate Sam Harris' horror debut at five-eighth in last week's Super 14 loss to the Brumbies.

Harris arrived at the Force with his eyes firmly fixed on the No.12 jersey but the former Waratah was thrust into the flyhalf role on the eve of the season when Mark Bartholomeusz succumbed to a neck injury.

Harris failed to embrace the position against the Brumbies, with his wayward boot giving the Canberra-based franchise excellent field position time and again.

But Sheehan felt he, too, was at fault for the Force's demise in that match and said 30-year-old Harris didn't deserve to cop all the flak.

"Sammy and I have known each other since we were 12 years of age and we've played a hell of a lot of rugby together but unfortunately in that game our cohesion was out," Sheehan said.

"He's played football for a long time and been playing really well at inside centre.

"But to be thrown in at flyhalf 24 hours before the game can be a daunting thing.

"There were no two people more devastated in our performance last week than Sam and I because we were the ones that had to run the game and our lack of cohesion cost us in elements of the game.

"Some of our calls cost us and we're aware of that and we've worked hard on it this week."

The Force's worrying injury toll has seen Harris retain his role at five-eighth for Saturday's clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington.

"I think you'll see a different outcome this week," Sheehan said.

"It can take weeks, months to form a partnership but in saying that we've played a lot of football together at club level at five-eight and halfback.

"Our timing was out (against the Brumbies) but at training this week we've worked really hard together and had a lot of opposition coming at us so we've got it nailed down for the weekend."

Wallabies outside centre Ryan Cross (shoulder) was the latest Force player to succumb to injury, joining Cameron Shepherd (thigh), Bartholomeusz (neck), David Pocock (finger), Richard Brown (shoulder), Andre Pretorius (hamstring) and Nick Cummins (foot) on the sidelines.

Combine that with the loss of stars Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell last year and many pundits have already labelled the Force's season a write-off.

But Sheehan, who crossed to the Force from the Waratahs at the end of last season in a bid to boost his chances of a Wallabies recall, said expectations within the group remained high.

"We play this game to play in finals football and it still is a goal," he said.

"People might think it's hard now but it gives other guys the opportunity to step up and make a mark.

"You never know who can come in and step up and drive us forward."

Coach John Mitchell has included two debutants in the run-on side against the Hurricanes, in Mitch Inman at outside centre and Ben McCalman at No.6.

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