No 12 Rob Thompson replaces wounded Taylor

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014
Tom Taylor
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INJURED: Canterbury's Tom Taylor could be back as early as next month.

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Provincial

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Tom Taylor's cracked eye socket isn't serious enough to end his season.

Utility back Taylor, who was injured making a tackle during last Saturday night's 48-9 win over Auckland, had been told by a specialist he could be back playing in the National Provincial Championship as early as next month.

"It is the same sort of injury that Corey Flynn had for the Crusaders earlier this year," a Canterbury spokesperson said. "Hopefully it will settle down and he is back playing in several weeks time."

Flynn suffered a fractured eye socket when the Crusaders played the Stormers in Christchurch early March, returning to play against the Lions in Johannesburg a month later.

Taylor, who produced an impressive running display when he started at second five-eighth and kicked flawlessly to nail all six shots at goal at AMI Stadium, had scans on his face immediately after the match. It was deemed an operation wasn't necessary to repair the 3mm fracture but he needed to see a specialist late on Monday to determine how soon he could return.

Scott Robertson has named Rob Thompson to start at No 12 against Waikato in Hamilton tomorrow night. Jack Goodhue has been listed on the bench.

Matt Symons has been listed ahead of Joel Everson in the second row. Symons, who played for the Chiefs this season and will return to the franchise again next year, should relish this opportunity to perform in familiar Super Rugby territory.

Robertson knew he wouldn't get Colin Slade back from the All Blacks, with Steve Hansen wanting him on standby in case Aaron Cruden or Beauden Barrett succumb to illness or injury, and No 8 Nasi Manu has been given another week to rest after a busy schedule with the Highlanders.

While pleased with the unexpected walloping of Auckland, Robertson wasn't rolling around in delight.

"To be really hard on ourselves, I thought we went into our shells a little bit after halftime when we had a lot of opportunities to attack and we kicked," he said.

"We want to try and attack every time. That's our first mindset."

Being adventurous with the ball, especially near their own goal line, won't be encouraged in the early minutes or if the score is tight but he won't berate his players for attacking from the deep if the situation warrants it.

"If you are are chasing the game or you are up 30 or so, that [taking risks] is not too bad - something in between might make you feel a little bit anxious," Robertson mused.

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"We have got a structure that we really stick to rigidly but when opportunities to really counter-attack like that open-up, let's play and that is our chance."

Waikato have retained the same side that beat Wellington 37-25 last weekend.

Canterbury: Richie Mo'unga, Patrick Osborne, Adam Whitelock, Rob Thompson, Johnny McNicholl, Tyler Bleyendaal, Willi Heinz (c), Luke Whitelock, Jed Brown, Matt Todd, Scott Barrett, Matt Symons, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Siate Tokolahi, Joel Everson, Tom Sanders, Mitchell Drummond, Jack Goodhue, Milford Keresoma.

- The Press

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