Taylor takes on extra leadership

Simon Taylor believes he has successfully answered Scotland coach Frank Hadden’s request he take on more of a leadership role within the camp.

With captain and inspirational flanker Jason White out for the whole of the Six Nations Championship, Hadden expressed his wish that Taylor lead Scotland’s young side to another successful campaign.

The Edinburgh back-rower is by nature a shy individual who, despite his status in the game – having been selected for two Lions tours – has not been a particularly vocal member of the Scottish pack.

But the 27-year-old believes he has taken greater responsibility in this year’s campaign, which was given a huge shot in the arm with the 21-9 victory over Wales – in which he won his 50th cap.

“I think I’ve been trying to be more of a leader in the last year or two. It’s something you do depending on the dynamic of the group of players,” he said.

“With Jason being injured, who’s a big influence on the group, you just try to adapt into whatever space there is.

“Sometimes you can have too many voices and too many guys trying to be leaders. So I’m quite happy with what I’ve been doing.”

Taylor was surprised, almost apologetic, to receive the man-of-the-match award after the Wales game.

“Apparently they give man of the match to everyone who is winning their 50th cap! I’m sure it was some sort of sympathy vote,” said the man from Crieff.

“I was solid enough but I couldn’t believe it when I heard it was decided by Jonathan Davies – I thought he would give it to a Welsh player.

“I was happy enough with my own performance, as I was last week. It’s been hard coming back from a lot of injuries because when you come back the first few games are always hard.

“I’ve plugged away but it’s hard to come back and dominate. I’ve been working hard and it’s been good to play some games and get my fitness back.”

Hadden was quick to praise his pack after Saturday’s game and Taylor believes the plaudits were well-merited by a group of forwards which has not been highly rated outside the Scotland camp in recent times.

Taylor, comfortable in any of the back-row positions, explained Scotland must continue to make up for their lack of size with cleverness in their forward play.

“Our scrum was great this week and that makes such a difference. Line-outs were good too and we competed well in that area,” he added.

“Maybe we would have liked ball that was a bit tidier but compared to last week, when we were scrapping for everything, it was much better.

“Over the last year and half we’ve put in some decent performances but realistically we’re not a side with the size of someone like England.

“We aren’t going to dominate in the way they do, so we need to find other ways and try to be clever about it and put everything into it.

“If we let that slip and everyone isn’t putting everything into it then we will struggle.”

The success over Wales allows Scotland the luxury of a two-week training camp ahead of the Italy game with a victory already on the board.

“It was a massive relief to win. We can now recover and try to prepare for the Italy game.

It’s a boost to the confidence but it is as much about peace of mind as anything else.”

365 Digital

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