Dylan Hartley says ‘character and hard work’ are the secrets behind Teimana Harrison’s success.
Harrison will make his England debut on Sunday, lining up at six in the Old Mutual Wealth Cup clash with Wales at Twickenham.
Hartley, who recommended the New Zealand-born flanker to Saints back in 2011, is delighted to see his club-mate getting a shot at international level.
And he knows his fellow former Rotorua Boys School pupil has earned it.
“Four years ago when I met Tei it was obvious he had raw talent and I thought straight away he could come and play for Northampton,” Hartley said.
“I never thought he could get into an England shirt and the fact he has is down to his character and his hard work.
“He’s waited for his opportunity, he’s taken it with two hands.
“There are still areas of his game that I’m sure Eddie (Jones) is getting him to work on and he is hungry to learn and develop and that is his character, he wants to get better and I’m chuffed to bits for him.”
And Hartley is not the only one who has been impressed by Saints’ supporters’ and players’ player of the year.
“He’s come into camp, he’s very raw, he doesn’t have a great rugby background and played a bit of high-school rugby at Dylan’s school,” said England boss Jones.
“He’s come over here as a young kid, decided England is going to be his home and his form post-Christmas has been absolutely outstanding.
“His attitude has been very good and now he has his opportunity.”
Skipper Hartley and Harrison will be joined in England’s starting 15 by club-mates Courtney Lawes and Luther Burrell this weekend.
It is a big chance for Burrell to show that he should be the man to replace injured Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi in the squad for June’s three-Test tour of Australia.
Burrell missed out on World Cup selection last year, and Hartley hailed his desire to regain his international place.
“Everyone deals with setbacks in different ways,” Hartley said.
“He’s gone away and got his head down, he’s lost a bit of weight, he’s worked on his fitness and he’s always had this carrot of playing for England again and fair play to him he has got his shot.”