Wallabies aiming to rattle debutant Tom Taylor

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 12:52 23/08/2013
Tom Taylor
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TAYLOR TARGET: The Wallabies aim to rattle the All Blacks' fourth-choice No.10 Tom Taylor in his Test debut.

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Pressuring All Blacks rookie Tom Taylor is an obvious tactic, but the Wallabies are more interested in the performance of their own first five-eighth.

Australian captain James Horwill and halfback Will Genia say they will do all they can to apply the blowtorch to Taylor during tomorrow night's Bledisloe Cup rematch in Wellington.

"You have to; someone who is playing their first test," Genia said today.

"There's no doubt about it. We'll look to pressure him and see how he copes with the decision-making and controlling of their game.

"I think he'll do well. He's been picked because they feel he can handle the pressure, but ... he has only played 12 [this year], so from our point of view we have to put as much pressure on him as we can and see how he deals with it." Genia made the point that Wallabies first-five Matt Toomua had a week's jump on his opposite number after his turbulent test debut in Sydney last Saturday night.

"He'll be a lot more confident having that one game under his belt and more confidence in doing the things he does well," Genia said.

"He's a great kicker of the ball, and you saw throughout the Brumbies season he was able to put them in good field position and get them out of trouble very effectively.

"He's trained really well, he's taken the lessons he learnt from his first test and he's been really good.

"In a playmaking role, we want to have him confident and running the show and doing the job, and he's definitely done that all week."

A major difference between the sides in the opening test was how All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith and first-five Aaron Cruden varied their kicking game.

In contrast, Genia and Toomua barely put boot to ball as the pressure built, and the Wallabies have clearly had a rethink since arriving in Wellington.

"It's no secret we played a bit too much rugby and played into their hands. They enjoy just kicking it to our half and putting us under pressure and forcing us into mistakes," Genia said.

"We have to be smarter with how we use the ball in our half and in our quarter. We have to make sure we exit efficiently and effectively and don't give them opportunities to come away with points and strangle us in our quarter."

Horwill said any player on test debut could expect attention, but the Wallabies were not banking on Taylor providing the weakest link.

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"One of the strengths of New Zealand rugby is they have depth," he said.

"You look at the World Cup as a perfect example. You were down to the fourth or fifth first five-eighth and you still won the World Cup.

"A guy on debut in a playmaking situation, you always have to make sure you test out what's going on, but he wouldn't be there if he wasn't good enough."

Horwill echoed Genia's belief that finding a better balance between kicking and running everything was the key to the Wallabies keeping the Bledisloe Cup series alive.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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