Taylor gets shot at redemption against Reds
A rueful Tom Taylor can now joke that a nasty "bell ringer" was penance for being too greedy last weekend.
Having spied a gap against the Hurricanes last weekend, the Crusaders second five-eighth darted for the tryline and ignored the unmarked Ryan Crotty outside him.
And he was to pay a painful price for his indiscretion; the gap closed, no try was scored and he was knocked senseless by Hurricanes fullback James Marshall.
"I don't really know what I was thinking, I can't really remember too much either to be honest," Taylor, who has been cleared to start against the Reds tomorrow night, said. "But, yeah, I have looked at the clips and it was certainly on to pass."
After several minutes lying in the AMI Stadium grass he walked to the changing sheds and was advised by team doctor Deb Robinson to forget about returning to the game.
Good news, on several fronts, was to follow.
Taylor's botched try didn't cost his side the game and they won 25-17.
He was also cleared of concussion, suffering no headaches during the week.
He is still uncertain what part of Marhsall's body he connected with.
"I'm not too sure. I think it was the elbow or the shoulder. It was something hard, anyway, and I definitely just dropped.
"It was just a bit of a bell ringer really. I was on the ground with the ringing in my ears and it was a bit of a shock really. But I have been happy with the way I have been feeling this week which has been really good."
A fully-fit Taylor means there was no requirement for the Crusaders coaches to contemplate shifting Dan Carter to second-five and bring Tyler Bleyendaal into No 10.
The other, more likely, option would have been to start Adam Whitelock - who has been brought into the reserves - at centre which would allow Carter to remain at first-five.
While the Reds' attack has been in hibernation for much of this season, and Taylor's defensive role will largely require him to target Ben Tapuai on the drift defence from set plays, he said the Crusaders know their defensive lines will be crucial in ensuring that Quade Cooper's comfort levels are reduced.
"He plays really well when guys give him time and space. I think if you can just get into his face and shut him down before he has the time to use his feet and do stuff he does really well."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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