Amber and black Taylor-made for Andre

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012
Andre Taylor
Andy Jackson/Fairfax NZ
STAYING PUT: Andre Taylor has signed to play with Taranaki for the next two seasons.

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Provincial

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Andre Taylor has spurned several offers from rival provinces to sign with Taranaki for another two years.

"Logistically it would have made more sense for me to play for another province but I love playing for Taranaki.

"I'm really keen to continue wearing the amber and black jersey for as long as I can," he said.

Wellington and Manawatu were believed to have been among the unions chasing the versatile outside back, who produced career best form for the Hurricanes in 2012 after being switched to fullback from wing.

That form suffered after he badly damaged his hand in Taranaki's opening National Provincial Championship match against Bay of Plenty and was sidelined for the next five games.

However, he came back to torment his former province Manawatu in their unsuccessful Ranfurly Shield challenge but suffered concussion when Taranaki lost the Log o' Wood to Waikato.

Taylor's signature will be a major boost to Tenderlink Taranaki coach Colin Cooper.

He will now also be able to call on the likes of Chris Smylie, Beauden Barrett, James Marshall, Seta Tamanivalu, Kurt Baker, Jackson Ormond, Frazier Climo and Waisake Naholo in 2013, as well as new Wellington recruit Ope Peleseuma.

A long-term deal with new Blues halfback Jamison Gibson-Park is also being negotiated.

Cooper acknowledged Taylor could have easily turned his back on Taranaki and stayed year-round in the capital.

"We're pretty pleased that he hasn't," he said.

"Retaining a player of Andre's quality is a real win for Taranaki. It confirms the professional environment we've established is attracting players here and encouraging players to stay with us, even when they've received offers from other provinces."

Cooper said it was unlikely Taranaki would announce any more new signings until March or April after they had assessed who was available in the province and who was off contract elsewhere.

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