New All Blacks fly-half a son of a gun
August 22, 2013
Tom Taylor has All Blacks rugby in his blood © Getty Images
New All Blacks fly-half Tom Taylor has spent the week soaking up advice, although guidance from his famous father will have to wait.
Taylor described his debut selection on Thursday for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington as surreal, three days after being called into the New Zealand squad as cover for injured fly-halves Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett. The 24-year-old is effectively the fourth choice, with legendary All Blacks No.10 Dan Carter also injured.
Taylor is not able to deliver the news of his selection to his father, former long-serving All Blacks inside centre Warwick Taylor, who is leading a group of students on a ski trip in the South Island where they are out of telephone range until returning home on Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Taylor is still coming to grips with his promotion. He was unaware Cruden and Barrett had even injured themselves in last Saturday's 47-29 defeat of Australia in Sydney before being contacted by the All Blacks.
After playing further out than five-eighth in the Crusaders backline all year, he has endeavoured to keep his mind uncluttered this week.
"There's a tendency to overload and play the game in your head a lot," he said. "I've been trying to learn as much as I can but also relax as much as I can. Come game time I'll be really clear and just pretend it's a normal game. It's disappointing for the other 10s but I suppose it's my chance to prove to myself and to everyone else that I can do it."
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Taylor says growing up as the son of an All Blacks representative gave him a different perspective on the sport.
"For me, it was normal to have All Blacks coming into my house and mucking about with dad," he said.
He was born two years after Warwick was part of the All Blacks side that won the inaugural 1987 World Cup. His father won't let his family forget that occasion, which is recorded in a video library at home.
"He gets them out from time to time," he said.
All Blacks: Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Tom Taylor, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Steven Luatua; Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Colin Slade, Charles Piutau.