Taylor beefs up to take on Blues

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 01/03/2013
Tom Taylor
IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
ON THE BENCH: Tom Taylor.

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A new-found obsession with food ensured Tom Taylor piled-on 6kg of extra muscle over the summer.

Taylor, who starts at fullback for the Crusaders against the Blues tonight, has returned from the off-season with a noticeably larger physique which should add more power to his defensive hits and confidence to his attacking runs.

Since embarking on a schedule of eating up to seven times a day - three main meals and four snacks - Taylor, who turns 24 on March 11, watched his weight balloon to around 94kg.

"For me it was a lot of the nutritional stuff that helped. I have been forcing food down," Taylor said.

"I have been feeling a bit sick eating all that food but it is just what I needed."

The key, he said, was not to skip the smaller meals.

Even if he didn't feel hungry he kept shovelling down the food.

"I was always snacking. I have always got food in my hands. It was about getting enough carbs in. When we were training as well it was pretty tough.

"But I'm pretty stoked with the results.

"I put on about five or six kilos over the summer, that's been really good."

Carrying extra bulk should also ensure he can absorb knocks and recover more quickly.

It should also prove to his coaches that he can be trusted to be a strong ball carrier, something he hopes may result in him playing in the midfield.

"It opens up playing at No 12 as being more of an option. Just wherever I play at the moment, I think that extra weight is going to help."

Having played most of his career at first five-eighth, Taylor is wary about being viewed as a utility player. All Black Israel Dagg has been re-shuffled to the left wing tonight but is expected to return to fullback when Kurt Baker and Johnny McNicholl recover from injury.

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