CHRIS Harris is the type of man who takes some stopping when he gets up a head of steam.

The French defence found that to their cost on Saturday afternoon, when the bustling Newcastle Falcons centre got on the end of a Greig Laidlaw pass to break their last-gasp defence and score the close-range try which allowed Scotland to fly off to Georgia this week with a World Cup warm-up win under their belts.

Appearing to time his run perfectly to make himself stand-out from the six-man crowd vying for inclusion at centre, if he continues this momentum no-one may be able to stop him achieving his dream of representing Scotland at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Not that the 28-year-old is taking anything for granted.

“I know what I have to do to get a ticket to Japan and that one performance may not be enough,” said Harris, whose competition for a midfield berth in the final 31-man squad is Pete Horne, Duncan Taylor, Huw Jones, Rory Hutchinson and Sam Johnson.

“It would mean everything to get on that plane,” he added. “This has been my goal and my dream.

“If I don’t make it I will be absolutely gutted and that’s what’s been driving me. That and the competition we have in the squad. I just want to grow and improve.

“You can’t look beyond the game you are playing. I just have to keep my head down. The coaches are giving nothing away.

“I’m not aware if the final squad has been selected or indeed the positions they are unsure of. They are not going to tell us that because they want to ensure there’s that added edge to our play. So everyone is still fighting.”

Nine members of this squad will have their hopes and dreams crushed next Tuesday, just as the remaining 31 members of the group are on cloud nine. Harris accepts that brings a pressure he just seems to be thriving under it. And it says something about the spirit in the group that he was mobbed by the group of Scotland substitutes who were going through their warm-ups at that end.

“There IS pressure,” said Harris. “You have to deal with it in your own way, not everyone can go to the World Cup.

“I feel like I’ve put myself in a good position. I have been training well and working hard. I was pretty confident going into the game. I’ve had a rocky start to games in the past but you just have to forget about that and kick on.

“I was happy to score. I was running from pretty deep and I was just waiting for the ball. Thankfully, Greig saw me and he picked me out.

“You could see with the celebrations that we are all in this together, everyone just wants to win. We’ve worked hard on the defence aspects of our game and we were pleased with that today.”

While keeping his cards close to his chest, Townsend spoke warmly of Harris’ contribution on Saturday night. A late developer who has been something of a slow burn in his Scotland career to date, it should be said that his physicality also helped Scotland pounce on a French mistake in the lead-up to a fine first try for Sean Maitland.

“It’s great just to see someone get out there and get a reward for the hard work he’s put in,” said Townsend. “He is an outstanding defensive player and he’s worked really hard to improve his attacking.

“His passing, his re-setting and his decisions have been very good. He gives a hundred per cent every time he plays. So to see him getting the reward of a try at Murrayfield – BT Murrayfield – and the crowd erupting, a crucial try for us, there can be no better feeling.

“Our kick chase was excellent and I know he was involved in a couple of attacks that almost led to tries. He went up the short side a couple of times and we either didn’t complete or the French managed to get back in time.”