Lions tour: All Black hooker Codie Taylor keeping calm before the storm

  • 24/06/2017
Codie Taylor. Photo credit: Getty
Codie Taylor. Photo credit: Getty

Few players have larger shoes to fill on Saturday - for the All Blacks or British and Irish Lions - than Codie Taylor, yet the Crusaders-based hooker insists he'll approach the Test as coolly as any other.

The 26-year-old will pull on the black No.2 jumper at Eden Park, slotting in for the concussed Dane Coles, who is still being kept under wraps.

Taylor has made 16 Test appearances to date, earning a 2015 World Cup medal in the process, but has mostly been used as a weapon off the bench for his country - with skilful Hurricanes captain Coles an undisputed starter.

He'll need to produce his best on Saturday against a formidable Lions front row - particularly at the set-piece, where they're at their strongest.

"It's going to be a hell of a Test match, so I've got to go out there and nail my role," the Levin-born Taylor told reporters on Thursday.

"It's the pinnacle of Test rugby, the Lions - it comes around every 12 years, I remember watching it, when I was around 14, last time."

Taylor, along with tight-five teammates Owen Franks, Joe Moody and Sam Whitelock, endured a difficult first meeting against the Lions two weeks ago and were out-muscled 12-3 in Crusaders colours in Christchurch.

He said the Kiwi pack would need to be both stronger and smarter than that of the Crusaders, which failed to adjust to the referee's set-piece rulings.

South African Jaco Peyper is set to oversee Saturday's fixture, a referee with whom most All Blacks are intimately acquainted at club and Test level.

"It was a good taste of what to expect in the way the Lions are playing, they've got a great scrum and been pretty successful on tour," Taylor said.

"We learned a very good lesson there.

"Obviously we got pinned a couple times, but it was about what we needed to do better, and that's what we brought it back to, reviewing the game.

"It's just to adapt really quickly."

NZN