The Bay of Plenty-based 20-year-old released a statement today, saying he was doing so to prevent a cloud of suspicion falling on all his teammates.
“I am making this statement today so everyone knows that I am the player at the centre of this issue. There is no one else involved.
“I want to say very strongly that I am innocent of the allegation made against me. However, I should not have allowed a woman to enter my room. This was against team rules.
A 22-year-old woman filed a complaint with police in South Africa, alleging the player had raped her in the weekend.
The New Zealand Rugby Union confirmed earlier this week that player had been with a 22-year-old woman during the night just hours after his team lost junior world championship final to South Africa.
Although the woman had made the allegation, her statement was that she could not remember anything about the incident, including who the person involved was, according to information the NZRU had received from South African police.
Harris said he was proud to have the opportunity to represent his country and knew he let the team and his family down by inviting the woman back to his room.
“For that I am truly sorry and I want to apologise to my team mates, team management and to all the parents and friends who supported our team, but especially to my family for the distress this has caused them all.
“The past five days have been a very stressful and painful time for me and my family. I have learnt a lot and now I am hoping for a good outcome so I can get on with my life.
“I have been advised that with a police investigation underway I am unable to comment further.”
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said earlier this week that there was a possibility that Harris could return to South Africa to help with investigations.
The team had co-operated with South African police following the complaint and had flown back to New Zealand as scheduled.
Harris had been drinking on the night in question, but not excessively, and had broken the ‘no women on floor’ policy that applied to all national rugby teams, including the All Blacks, Tew said.
He did not rule out disciplinary action against Harris for breaking the “no woman on floor” policy.