Patience pays off for Hansen

Date published: July 15 2015

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New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen is confident that hooker Codie Taylor will grab his opportunity with both hands should he play on Friday.

The 24-year-old, who has been included on the All Blacks replacements bench for their 2015 Rugby Championship opener against Argentina, is uncapped.

But after a good Super Rugby campaign with the Crusaders, Taylor was picked ahead of the likes of Liam Coltman and Ben Funnell in the training squad.

"Codie Taylor has worked hard," Hansen told tvnz.co.nz, praising the player. "He was only 103kgs twelve months ago, now he's 109kgs and the size of an international hooker. He just needs to get an opportunity – he's a good athlete."

"He's worked really hard on his throwing since he's come in with us and that's going really well. But we'll get him better doing that because of the quality of people around him."

Hooker has for a long time been a concern for New Zealand as the next in line behind Andrew Hore and Keven Mealamu after 2011's Rugby World Cup was something of an unsolved dilemma. However, in the past two years Dane Coles has established himself as first-choice while Hika Elliot, Taylor and Coltman have also impressed, something that delights coach Hansen ahead of this game.

"You think the cupboard is bare and then you go and give someone an opportunity to get better," he continued.

"Sometimes you've got to be patient for these people to arrive, you can't put them in too early as it breaks their confidence and they're not ready.

"We've waited a wee while for the third hooker, we're still waiting for some others."

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