Planet Rugby

Taylor targeted by Wallabies

23rd August 2013 06:15


Tom Taylor NZ RC training 2013

Tom Taylor: In the firing line

The Wallabies have made rookie All Blacks pivot Tom Taylor their prime target in their must-win return Test in Wellington on Saturday.

They need to avenge last weekend's 47-29 thrashing in Sydney if they are to keep their Rugby Championship hopes alive and ensure the Bledisloe Cup, contested between the two countries, goes to a third-Test decider.

After pouring through tapes of the first Test hiding looking for holes in the New Zealand attack, the Australians believe the All Blacks handed them a trump card with their choice of the untested Taylor in the crucial flyhalf position.

Taylor has the responsibility of steering the All Blacks around the park and Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia said they will do everything they can to unnerve him.

"You have to," he explained.

"It's someone playing his first Test and that's something we'll look to pressure him and see how he copes with the decision-making and controlling of their game.

"From our point of view we want to put as much pressure on him as we can and see how he deals with it."

The 24-year-old Taylor was thrust into the hotseat after injuries sidelined New Zealand's three leading flyhalves - Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett.

Wallabies skipper James Horwill, however, added a note of caution about the "target Taylor" strategy, referring to the 2011 World Cup when multiple fly-half injuries earned Stephen Donald a recall for the final - and Donald kicked the winning penalty.

"They were down to the fourth or fifth five-eighth and they still won the World Cup," said Horwill.

A week ago it was Wallabies fly-half Matt Toomua, making his debut, who was the centre of attention.

The Brumbies pivot was rattled by the attention he received from the All Blacks, but Genia expected a more solid performance this week.

"He'll be a lot more confident having that one game under his belt and he'll have more confidence in doing the things he does well," Genia added.

"He's a great kicker of the ball and you saw throughout the Brumbies season he was able to put them in good field position and get them out of trouble very effectively so he'll be confident in bringing those things that he does well into this game."

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