Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris stamping claim on No.2 jersey

Harris is fully healthy after breaking his leg playing for the All Blacks in 2016.
Harris is fully healthy after breaking his leg playing for the All Blacks in 2016. Photo credit: Photosport

Hooker Nathan Harris isn't taking his foot off the accelerator as he looks to remain at the top of the Chiefs' pecking order.

The departure of Hika Elliot to France last year and Rhys Marshall to Ireland in 2016 opened the door for Harris to secure the starting position for the Super Rugby side.

However, he is now facing challenges from New Zealand Maori player Liam Polwart and Waikato hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho.

"We have a competition going and it's good to see those guys really pushing me for my spot," Harris said.

"Samisoni is a wrecking ball at training and he's definitely one to watch for the future."

The Chiefs are enduring another injury crisis in the front row with props Atu Moli ruled out for the season, Nepo Laulala gone for up to 12 weeks, and Kane Hames sidelined indefinitely with a suspected concussion.

Harris puts it down to bad luck.

"It's freak injuries and not down to the scrummaging rules or anything like that," he said.

"It's just what happens in the game."

The 26-year-old is grateful to be fully fit again after breaking his ankle playing for the All Blacks against the United States in 2014, and then his leg against Australia in 2016.

"It was great to finish summer not requiring surgery for a change" he said.

Harris is expecting another stern examination in the forwards when the Chiefs face the Bulls in Hamilton on Friday night, but also a more expansive game from the Pretoria-based opponents.

"The South Africans like to beat you up front and go penalty to penalty," he said.

"The Bulls have got a lot better with their general play and they're not just robots any more. They carry very well and like to spin the ball wide."