Hawke's Bay Today

Taylor in no doubt: Coles has mojo back

- Lynn McConnell

Respect that has long marked the relationsh­ip and rivalry between All Black hookers Dane Coles and Codie Taylor was evident again in London yesterday.

Taylor, the apprentice to his Horowhenua team-mate Coles when first selected for the All Blacks, has stepped up significan­tly in the absence of the Hurricanes player due to injury and had claim to the incumbency at hooker ahead of Sunday’s test against England.

But having seen Coles’ return in the All Blacks win over Japan at the weekend, Taylor recognised all the signs that suggested his senior was back and feeling good, now that the injury concerns were behind him.

That was especially obvious when Coles scored a try when “seagulling” on the wing, something all hookers aspire to.

“You could sense he was ready to get stuck in and I think it was a great stepping stone for him to get that confidence back so he can get back into some serious test footy.

“He did what he always does and performed in the black jersey,” Taylor said.

While Coles had been under his injury cloud, he had stepped back a little and allowed Taylor and Nathan Harris to stamp their own mark, which had been “awesome”, but seeing him back and his usual bubbly self was good because it meant he felt 100 per cent and was ready to go again, Taylor said.

It was inspiring the way Coles had battled and come through and it was like he had never left.

That hadn’t lessened Taylor’s own competitiv­eness.

Ideally, he wants to be starting, as does any All Black who wants to represent his country and do it proud.

“For me, I’ve got my own things I’m trying to work on and really develop and that’s what drives me every day to get better, because I know you’re never the finished product, that’s for sure,” he said. — allblacks.com

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