Super Rugby Aotearoa: Competition-leading Codie Taylor plays down tryscoring heroics

Crusaders and All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor has played down his exceptional tryscoring record, despite his current status as most prolific player in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Try-scoring statistics are usually dominated by wingers, but front-rower Taylor currently tops the charts in the 2021 season, crossing six times for the Crusaders this year.

Highlanders flyer Jona Nareki sits second with four tries, while All Blacks and Crusaders teammate Sevu Reece provides Taylor's closest competition from within his own side, with three of his own.

What's more, Taylor sits sixth on Super Rugby Aotearoa's pointscorer's list with 30, sitting only behind each side's respective goal-kickers, led by the Chiefs' Damian McKenzie with 82.

While tryscoring may not be his sole focus in helping the Crusaders to a potential fifth straight title, Taylor says his teammates deserve the credit for his prolific start to the year.

"I sat down at the start of the year and had a pretty clear plan about where I wanted to head to," Taylor says. "Half of them are maul tries, so you can't really claim those.

"It's the seven men in front of you that are pushing that should get their names on the stats sheet.

"It's just been an enjoyable season. [With] fresh goals and where I want to head to is, I suppose, driving my work off the field and on it."

But Taylor's teammates insist his tryscoring exploits are no fluke.

"You see him putting in the hard work that no-one else sees," teammate George Bridge tells Newshub. "It's good to see that it's coming out on the field.

"He doesn't mind dotting down - it's been good to see, actually.

"We're pretty fortunate that he's on our side, but he's having a great season. I'm loving watching him and playing alongside him."

Assistant coach Andrew Goodman credits the hooker's desire to improve as one of the reasons for his 2021 successes.

"He's been playing outstanding hasn't he... just the way he trains, with the energy.

"You see it on the field, he pops up all over the show, massive effort plays from him. It's nice to see him getting rewarded with a few meat pies [tries].

"He's motivated to be the best hooker in the world. The way he comes in here early, he's always working on his game, always on the computers, finding ways to get better.

"The way he trains, focussing on everything from his mobility to his hooker mastery. He's endless in here with the time he spends."

Taylor will have a chance to add to his haul of tries this weekend, as the Crusaders host the Blues at Orangetheory Stadium on Sunday.

Join Newshub for live updates of the Crusaders v Blues Super Rugby Aotearoa clash from 3:35pm Sunday.