Paris poised to make history
September 5, 2011
Canada's Taylor Paris is set to become the youngest player to have ever graced the Rugby World Cup stage © Getty Images
Canadian teenager Taylor Paris is set to make history this month as the youngest player to have ever graced the Rugby World Cup stage.
The 18-year-old will eclipse the mark of the United States' Thretton Palamo should he appear in any of the Canucks' pool clashes that begin with a showdown against Tonga in Whangarei next Wednesday. But the prospect of re-writing the record books is nothing new to one of the rising stars of North American rugby.
After taking up rugby at high school five years ago, he quickly jumped from Ontario and national U17 squads to become the youngest player to debut for the Canadian Sevens team, scoring a try in his first match as a 17-year-old at the Wellington Sevens event last year.
He then became the youngest player for the full Canadian team when he took the field against Belgium in November last year and in his second match, against Spain, he ran in two tries. An invite to train with the Northampton Saints Academy followed before injury ruled him out of this year's Churchill Cup campaign and as a result he was not sure of a place in coach Kieran Crowley's World Cup squad.
"I broke my hand about four months ago and so I wasn't sure how I would go. When I saw my name in the 50-man roster for the World Cup I was so excited," said Paris. "So when Kieran told me that I had made the final squad, it was just so, so exciting. This is the absolute pinnacle."
The Canucks' squad boasts plenty of World Cup experience for Paris to call upon but the confident speedster, who celebrates his 19th birthday next month, is desperate to learn first hand. "I have been rooming with Adam Kleeberger, and I also speak to Ander Monro and Pat Riordan and they help me out, but I think there is only so much you can learn from other people telling you. I think the only real way to find out what these tournaments are like is just to experience it yourself."
Paris does have one area of responsibility in the Canadian team. As the youngest member he has to carry with him, at all times, the team's stuffed moose mascot Captain Green. But he rates that a much better task than one he was saddled with during his first international tour.
"I had this giant pink bunny rabbit with ears that were huge," he laughed. "So we were going through the airport and the ears were sticking out of my bag and so the guy made me pull it out and go through a full security scan, probably thinking 'what's this guy doing with his huge pink bunny rabbit?' "
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