Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Rugby: Taylor tries to refocus on footy by calling halt to hobbies

Andre Taylor was able to make an impact against the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images
Andre Taylor was able to make an impact against the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images

Andre Taylor has put his hobbies on hold this year.

The Hurricanes fullback was an avid golfer, enjoyed playing with remote control cars and tinkering with life-sized ones but none of those have taken up his time recently.

Instead, he has been trying to find a way to recapture his sparkling Super Rugby form of 2012 when he was within an injury of a call-up to the All Blacks.

Last year proved challenging for the Taranaki flyer as opposition defences were able to limit his counter-attacking abilityand he probably missed the calming influence of Cory Jane - sidelined with a knee injury - on the wing.

Taylor made his first appearance of 2014 by way of the bench against the Highlanders last Friday. His effort was one of the few positives the Hurricanes could take from their 35-31 defeat in Dunedin.

The 2012 version of Taylor was on display at Forsyth Barr Stadium as his dynamic running was unleashed again and he cut apart a tired Highlanders defensive line as the Hurricanes added some respectability to the scoreline with a late flurry.

Taylor said if he was rewarded with a starting jersey for Friday's outing against the Crusaders in Christchurch he would celebrate by treat-ing himself to his first round of golf for the year.

"At the moment I've just been focusing on the footy," he said. "It seems to be going well so once I get back in to the swing of things I'll get in to all that stuff later."

Hurricanes assistant coach Alama Ieremia said Taylor's form had been patchy since the pre-season, which made him tough to select.

"His confidence levels were obviously back on the weekend," Ieremia said. "I was pretty happy for him and obviously the team was too because he showed some of that counter-attack that we needed."

With only one win from their opening five games, the Hurricanes require some spark and Taylor could be the answer but the outside back division is stacked in the capital with the likes of Alapati Leiua, Jane, Matt Proctor and Julian Savea demanding inclusion.

Leiua could be a chance to move in to the troublesome No12 jersey this week. Hadleigh Parkes has not convinced, while Tim Bateman remains in doubt with injury.

Jane said yesterday he was fit again after missing the loss to the Highlanders with an injured ankle and a broken nose.

Flanker Jack Lam came through concussion testing and will be available for Friday's game.APNZ

- APNZ

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