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Hard sanctions on high tackles will suit Louis Picamoles

Teimana Harrison believes the new hard line on high tackles will make Northampton powerhouse Louis Picamoles an even more dangerous ball carrying threat this season.

With referees cracking down on high tackles, players are having to adjust their technique with more chop tackles which means ball carriers have the ability to off-load to supporting runners.

This is one of Picamoles many strengths and the French No.8 has made a major impact in his first season in England, providing the go-forward ball that Northampton’s mis-firing back division has failed to deliver.

This departure of backs coach Alex King served only to highlight the problems outside a formidable pack of Saints forwards.

Harrison has been impressed with Picamoles destructive work with ball in hand and is relishing the prospect of the new tackle directives giving the big man more opportunities to hurt the opposition.

Harrison told The Rugby Paper: “Louis is a beautiful nightmare for us with his off-loads and it’s amazing to play alongside him. You are learning so much every week.

“If you go low then he is going to get the offload off to a supporting player and if you go high you bumped by him or give away a penalty and a potential card.

“The new tackle directive means we have been focussing on the chop tackle and then being very clinical with the second hit with no stupid cards or penalties. Our discipline in recent weeks has been quite poor with red and yellow cards and it is something we have worked on.

“The coaches have focussed on that in training and it is about decision making and if you get it right it works and if you get it wrong then it is a case of see you later.”

Harrison is vying for an England back row place in the Six Nations and with Chris Robshaw and Billy Vunipola out with long term injuries, there are places up for grabs.  Harrison has enjoyed a mixed time under head coach Eddie Jones and has yet to convince the doubters he has the all round game needed at Test level.

The 25-year-old flanker added: “My own form is getting there and since the autumn I have focussed massively on my fitness and my defence.

“I am happy with where it is but there is still work to do to get myself into the England squad. There are places up for grabs but I am not focussing on that because there are important games at the club to deal with and then it is up to Eddie if he thinks I am playing well enough.

“We are still turning a corner after the Leinster and Leicester games and are happy where we are.”

CHRIS JONES

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