Edinburgh centre George Taylor keen to grasp opportunity in Bordeaux
With no big-name replacement signed to replace Matt Scott, 23-year-old wants to make his mark in midfield, starting with tomorrow’s Euro clash in France
The recruitment freeze caused by the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic may have seen coaches everywhere ripping up their shopping lists but they say every crisis opens up an opportunity and Edinburgh centre George Taylor is determined to seize his.
Back in the spring, when it was announced that experienced international Matt Scott would be leaving, the 23-year-old Taylor admits he was working out in his head how it would affect him and his plan to get more regular games than has been the case in the past couple of years.
“When they mentioned that Mattie was leaving it kind of woke me up a bit,” said the Melrose man. “I thought I’d potentially have more games in the 12 jersey, and in the back of my head I wondered who would be coming in, and what style they would be.
“But I just tried to focus on my own game and improve where I can. At the same time [Queensland-born former London Scottish centre] Matt Gordon has come in and is playing really well, as is Chris Dean. We’re tight-knit centres who get on really well and bounce ideas off each other. That competition is good for the club.”
Taylor is expected to be involved when coach Richard Cockerill names his team at noon today for tomorrow’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bordeaux-Begles in France after Mark Bennett, James Johnstone and Dean have featured more in the midfield over the past few weeks.
Taylor was a two-try man-of-the-match in France last November as Edinburgh enjoyed a big away win against Agen but knows Bordeaux, who were denied a Top 14 title by the shutdown and got off to a winning start in the new season at the weekend, will be a much tougher proposition. Especially if they field star stand-off Matthieu Jallibert.
“They’ll be strong, I’m looking forward to it, especially if Jallibert plays at 10,” said Taylor. “He’s a skilful footballer. Just to play against the likes of Jallibert would be exciting.”
Asked what he needs to improve to achieve that goal of more consistent gametime, Taylor replied: “That’s a good question. I need to vary my game a bit more. We’ve been training to use little attacking kicks in the wide channel and I think a small kicking game would help. I’ve had some solid performances but with a kicking game I think I’d be able to excel.
“[Inside centre] 12 is my preferred position. There’s quite a bit more space defensively and attacking at 13, and I do enjoy that, but just now I’m enjoying 12.”
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