Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor leans on past experiences for quarter-final against Ireland

Hooker Codie Taylor has been thrust into the starting side ahead of Dane Coles for the All Blacks' quarter-final against Ireland for the biggest high-stakes game of his career to date. 

At the last World Cup, the 28-year-old only featured in one game against Namibia, but watched from the stands, as New Zealand lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy for the third time. 

Taylor has since played a further 44 tests, including several big matches, largely due to Dane Coles' injury woes, including the three 2017 British & Irish Lions games.

But Taylor knows Saturday's match in Tokyo will be the toughest of his career, as the World Cup is on the line once again. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor leans on past experiences for quarter-final against Ireland

"It is a great opportunity," he told Newshub. "I'm excited and can't wait to get out there.

"It's a chance to play my game and to have a guy like Dane Coles coming off the bench is unreal.

"Last World Cup, I got a taste of what high-quality rugby is like. I wasn't involved in any of the playoff stuff, but I got to see the level you need to play at.

"Guys like Richie [McCaw] and 'Reado' [Kieran Read], they took their game to another level, so if I can fulfil that role and take my game to another level in these big ones, it will help the team."

Recent history between the two teams makes the test at Tokyo Stadium even more exciting, with Ireland winning two of the last three tests against New Zealand. 

In 2016, when Ireland won 40-29 in Chicago, Taylor came off the bench to play on the wing, while two years later in Dublin, he started in the front row, as the Irish triumphed 16-9. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor leans on past experiences for quarter-final against Ireland

On top of that, either Steve Hansen or Joe Schmidt will coach their last test for their respective nations, before moving on to different ventures. 

"We looked at [2018 v Ireland] this week and they're a great team at applying pressure," Taylor added. 

"It gives it more edge this week. We've been through pool play and we know what's at stake.

"We're coming up against last year's best team in the world and we know it's going to be a bloody tough challenge, and we're expecting it to be a close one.

"These games are built on small margins and if we nail the crucial moments, we'll get the job done." 

Taylor admitted that there was some pressure on the two-time defending champions.

Codie Taylor in action for Ireland in 2018.
Codie Taylor in action for Ireland in 2018. Photo credit: Photosport

"You do feel pressure and we have an expectation, as an All Blacks team, to perform well.

"We have the country behind us that wants us to do well, and this is for them, our families and even the Japanse people, who love the All Blacks." 

New Zealand have only failed to not get past the quarter-finals once, when they suffered a shock 20-18 defeat to France in 2007. 

Taylor is adamant there will be no repeat of that dark day in New Zealand rugby. 

"It's something we can't forget as a Kiwis. France stood up and startled us. 

"We didn't react well and the result didn't go our way. There are some great lessons there to make sure we don't do the same this weekend, and I'm sure the boys will be ready."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 11:15pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v Ireland Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

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