Many sevens athletes face an uncertain future following the conclusion of the 2020 Olympics, but Ben Harris’ fine efforts in Tokyo have helped him earn a new deal with Premiership outfit Saracens.
Harris, 21, was part of the team that narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in Japan, scoring a joint- Team GB high of four tries en route to a play-off defeat against Argentina.
Saracens—who will return to England’s top flight after a year in the RFU Championship—failed to specify the length of his deal but said their winger has secured a ‘long-term’ extension.
Harris was named Sevens Player of the Year for England’s men’s team in 2020, and he backed up that promise with some scintillating displays in Japan earlier this summer.
“I’m grateful to Saracens for the continued support over the last year since I’ve joined. This place really does feel like home and I wouldn’t have made the memories I have done so far anywhere else,” the youngster said.
“The care they’ve shown and the wisdom they’ve shared with me is invaluable. I’m beyond excited for the next few years at StoneX Stadium!”
Saracens won four Premiership titles and three European Rugby Champions Cups over the course of five seasons before a breach of salary cap rules saw them relegated from the former.
They finished last season’s Championship campaign second in the table but hammered Ealing Trailfinders 117-15 over two legs to win the grand final and earn promotion back to the first tier.
Harris first came through the academy ranks at London Irish but made his senior Saracens debut with a scoring performance against Premiership opponents Gloucester in August 2020.
Sarries director Mark McCall cited Harris’ impressive performances in Tokyo when he commented on the speedster’s contract extension.
“Ben is a player with exciting potential and a great attitude. It was fantastic to see him performing so well at the Olympics and we are looking forward to supporting him and helping him realise that potential in the years ahead,” he said.
It’s not uncommon for standout sevens players to fall short when transitioning to the full-sided code, but Harris will look to back up his potential at one of the most accomplished clubs in England.
He’ll encounter stiff competition, however, with Sean Maitland and Elliot Daly regular internationals for Scotland and England, respectively, while Alex Lewington and Rotimi Segun will be tough to budge.
Team GB’s sevens quest at Tokyo 2020 was funded thanks to a scheme in partnership with The National Lottery after numerous unions pulled their funding for the sport last year.
Harris is one of the fortunate few who has been handed a potential lifeline in the 15-a-side game, while many older stars of the sevens trade have been forced to hang up their boots.
Saracens are scheduled to open the 2021/22 Premiership season away to last season’s semi-finalists, Bristol Bears, on September 17.