Taylor handed All Blacks debut
Tom Taylor (Getty Images)
Wellington - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has entrusted rookie flyhalf Tom Taylor
with calling the shots for the All Blacks in Saturday's second Rugby
Championship Test against Australia.
The bold selection is one of
two injury-enforced changes to the side that crushed Australia 47-29 in
the opening Test in Sydney last week.
Taylor, son of 1987 World
Cup-winning centre Warwick Taylor, was selected ahead of 10-Test pivot
Colin Slade after injuries ruled out New Zealand's top three flyhalves
Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett.
The uncapped Taylor
and Slade were rushed into the squad this week and although Slade has
proven international credentials, Hansen said the decision to blood
Taylor in the crucial number 10 position was an easy choice.
is mentally tough and plays the game with a lot of confidence and
maturity," the coach said of the 24-year-old, who played at 12 or 15 for
the Crusaders in this year's Super 15.
along with his assured goalkicking under pressure, have made this an
easy selection. We have every faith that he will handle the occasion
Slade, a member of the All Blacks 2011 World
Cup-winning squad until he suffered a severe groin injury in the
quarter-finals, has been named on the bench for Saturday's clash in
The other injury change was telegraphed in the first
Test, when Brodie Retallick came on for lock Luke Romano, who suffered a
groin tear in Sydney and is out for the remainder of the Rugby
While this will be Taylor's first Test, for prop
Tony Woodcock it will be his 100th, becoming the fourth All Black to
reach a century behind Richie McCaw (117), Keven Mealamu (105) and Mils
Hansen believes the Wallabies will potentially be
more dangerous opponents this weekend after last week's drubbing, during
which the dominant All Blacks outscored the Australians six tries to
"They will be hurting after that Test and will throw everything at us," he said.
will be looking to play with more accuracy and intensity so, therefore,
we will need to meet -- or better that -- with a higher level of
execution right across the board if we are to be successful."
from the two changes to the starting side, Hansen has reorganised his
bench with hooker Dane Coles and prop Wyatt Crockett returning from
injury and lock Jeremy Thrush called up as lock cover. In the backs,
Charles Piutau replaces Ryan Crotty.Teams:
15. Israel Dagg, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Ma'a Nonu, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Tom Taylor, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Richie McCaw (captain), 6. Steven Luatua, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Andrew Hore, 1. Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16. Dane Coles, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19. Jeremy Thrush, 20. Sam Cane, 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22. Colin Slade, 23. Charles Piutau. Australia: