'I'd be lucky to be tying my laces at 36': Dynamic Taylor's admiration for stalwart Rory Best

‘Saturday is going to be a bloody physical battle,’ says Codie Taylor, a hooker cut from very different cloth to his opposite number.

WITH THREE YEARS of Test rugby under his belt, Codie Taylor knows well the effort required to remain at that level.

His opposite number this Saturday, meanwhile, is 13 years on from a first Ireland cap won against the All Blacks and with a little luck he will embark on a  fourth World Cup campaign next year.

Rory Best Rory Best warming up in Carton House yesterday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“He’s a great player. I heard he was 36, jeez, I would be lucky to be tying my laces at 36,” says Taylor of Ireland captain Rory Best.

As match-ups go, Taylor and Best’s head-to-head will certainly provide a clash of styles. The Crusaders hooker is of a similar mold to his positional rival Dane Coles, a dynamic ball-playing, line-breaking hooker who loves to operate in open field. Best, meanwhile, is a terrific scrummager and a formidable breakdown operator.

“It’s pretty unreal to see him still playing at the highest level in world rugby.

“He does have a very physical, close-encounter game. It’s different to our role in the All Blacks and what we try and do as hookers.

“At the same time, to be able to do that stuff, is gold as well.”

Cody Taylor Taylor on his bike in Dublin this week. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The gold standard this week will surely come in those tempo-dictating close exchanges and an ability to maintain solid set-piece. After more than a few hiccups at line-out time against the Pumas, Best will almost certainly have Devin Toner back as a primary target. But whatever tweaks are made to the pack, nobody in green will want the scrum to outcomes to alter one little bit.

“Oh yeah, it was a weapon, definitely,” Taylor says almost with a whistle of admiration for Ireland’s scrummaging.

“I’ve seen a couple from the game at the weekend and they really put Argentina under pressure and we know that if we don’t get everyone right, they’ll do the same thing to us.”

Taylor already knows what defeat to Ireland tastes like. His Chicago experience was instructive of the chopping and changing required of New Zealand as injuries hit both pack and back-line during the unusual Test. Taylor was tossed into the fray as a back row and attempted to fit in as best he could, plugging away in the hope that some of that All Black magic could be conjured up to save the day.

Not that day, however.

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“Being an All Black, you never think you’re out of the game. Even though the score might say that, you’re still trying to get the job done,” says the 27-year-old on his thought process during those closing minutes with Ireland leading 33 and then 40-29.

“They scored off that scrum and it put us out. After that, I was pretty gutted to be honest (but) that’s rugby. You don’t always get it right.”

crotty Ryan Crotty takes a swing as All- Ireland Champions, Dublin and the World Champions, New Zealand wee brought together for a head to head skills challenge. AIG is proud sponsor of Dublin GAA and New Zealand Rugby.

Jumping to the present tense and the very near future, he adds: “we respect what the Irish have done in the last couple of years, in terms of changing their game and they’re a real threat in world rugby.

“We know that Saturday is going to be a bloody physical battle and it will be won up front. That’s what we expect.”

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Sean Farrell

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