Centre Chris Harris is relishing the opportunity to play in Europe’s top tier as his Newcastle Falcons side prepares to host Edinburgh in Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup encounter.
The Scotland international started in last week’s meeting between the two teams at BT Murrayfield and is determined to propel the Falcons back to the top of Pool 5 in the re-match, having opened the campaign with victory away to Toulon and at home to Montpellier.
“Playing Heineken Champions Cup rugby has definitely been a big tick in the box for myself and for the club,” said Harris.
“It’s something I’d never done before, I know the club hadn’t been in the competition for 14 seasons and we’ve shown that we can do well at this level.
"The club has progressed well, even taking into account the fact we can improve this season’s league position, but we’ve stepped up in Europe and I don’t think we look out of place.
“I suppose all the way through my career it’s just been about stepping forward, and keeping on raising the level, bit by bit. I’m certainly not going to stop doing that now because there’s plenty more to achieve, and you have to embrace those challenges.”
In the midst of a double encounter against Edinburgh at the group stage’s midway point, he added: “The back-to-back games against Edinburgh are great because it’s a chance to play against boys I’ve been training with, and if I’m selected you certainly know you’ll be in that Scottish limelight a bit more.
“It’s definitely big in that sense and I’m not going to pretend otherwise, but on the same note I’m also not going to treat it differently to any other game in terms of how I prepare for it and my mental approach if I’m involved.
“It’s a big opportunity, for sure, but it’s just another game of rugby that I want to play well in if I’m given the chance.”
Harris was speaking in the official match programme for Sunday’s game as part of an in-depth interview. The programme is available to buy now by clicking here.
To buy tickets for the match please click here or call 0871 226 6060.