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Harris to start at 10 for Reds vs Waratahs

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Article Published: Tuesday 21 February 2012

Reds playmaker Mike Harris will take the reigns at flyhalf on Saturday when the Reds meet rivals the Waratahs in round one of the 2012 Super Rugby competition.

The announcement was made at the sold-out Reds Business Breakfast earlier this morning with the selection of the goal-kicking ace at flyhalf breaking Quade Cooper's recent mortgage on the number 10 jersey.

Harris enjoyed a magical debut season with the Reds in 2011, winning the team's Rookie of the Year honour for his efforts in the Reds drought-breaking Super Rugby championship success.

He continued that form throughout the Reds two preseason trial victories - against the Brumbies (27-20) and Western Force (40-10) - and enters Saturday's clash against the Waratahs with a 96% goal-kicking strike-rate for the Reds with a preseason sideline conversion against the Brumbies earlier this year his only miss in 24 attempts.

"It's a great opportunity but I've just been asked to go out there and play my own game to give the team the best chance to win," Harris said.

Harris made his Queensland and Super Rugby debut from the bench in the Reds hefty round two 30-6 loss against the Waratahs in Sydney in 2011 before featuring heavily at inside centre in the Reds 19-15 Templeton Cup success later in the year at Suncorp Stadium.

"It was a proud moment making my debut for Queensland but from a team perspective it was arguably our most forgettable moment of 2011," he said. "We've now got the chance to rectify the wrongs from that night."

Coach Ewen McKenzie said Harris had earned the right to wear the number 10 jersey but insisted he was more focused on the team's collective efforts as they endeavour to break a nine-year drought against the Waratahs in Sydney.

The Reds last triumphed against the Waratahs in Sydney in 2003, a 35-23 success, while of the eight matches played between the two teams south of the border they have each tasted success on four occasions.

"There has been a focus from the outside world on who will replace Quade but the reality is we have been more interested in finding the best player to articulate and deliver the game we want to play in 2012," McKenzie said.

"We were thoroughly disappointed with how we performed in Sydney last year and now the players have a chance to go out and erase that memory." The St.George Queensland Reds will announce their lineup to play the NSW Waratahs tomorrow.

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