By Kate Oram
Bath Rugby have continued their recruitment drive for the 2008/09 season by securing the signing of former Australia international second row Justin Harrison on a one-year contract. The 33-year old veteran of 34 Tests for the Wallabies will join Stuart Hooper in making the move to the Recreation Ground next season.Harrison, who has excelled in the Magners league with Ulster in recent seasons, joins the club with a global reputation as one of the finest exponents of lineout play in the game after making a telling international debut against the British and Irish Lions in 2001. He impressed at international level with the Wallabies before opting for a fresh challenge in Europe with Ulster where he forged a strong reputation as a team player and an inspirational leader, captaining the province to the Magners League title in 2005/06
Speaking today on his impending move to the Recreation Ground, Harrison is looking forward to joining a club that is on the verge of challenging for honours both domestically and in Europe.
"Joining Bath Rugby presents a fantastic opportunity to become part of a rugby team that represents the true professionalism and competitiveness that is required to successfully challenge in the Guinness Premiership and in Europe.
"Through the guidance of Steve Meehan, Mark Bakewell and Brad Davis, the team is producing an exciting and innovative brand of rugby which is made possible by the dynamic quality of the players. Importantly, the squad also has a balance of youth and experience that has presented me with an opportunity to become part of a top Premiership team," added the Australian.
For Harrison, the move to the West Country does not just represent an opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest names in the game within an ambitious squad, it also means that he will get to play at the Recreation Ground - a venue he has fond memories of.
"Bath Rugby is a club that is steeped in tradition and the Recreation Ground is one of the most picturesque and unique settings in world rugby. I have great memories of playing on the ground some ten years ago on my first professional tour with the Brumbies," he said.
Bath Rugby Head Coach Steve Meehan revealed that Harrison would bring immense experience and leadership qualities to the squad: "Justin has considerable experience of rugby at the very highest level, both internationally with the Wallabies and in the Super 12 with the Brumbies and in the Heineken Cup with Ulster. A natural leader on the park, Justin's qualities fit in perfectly with the ambitions of the club and will assist in raising existing performance standards."
"I believe Justin will enhance the development of younger locks from the Academy and bring a competitive winning attitude that less experienced players can really learn from," added Meehan.
From Bath Rugby