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Watch: All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor bamboozles Hurricanes defence to set up outstanding try

By Sam Smith
Sam Whitelock and Codie Taylor. (Photo by Andrew Cornaga/Photsports)

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Having watched young Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua make mincemeat of the Blues defenders last weekend, Codie Taylor has sent the national selectors a reminder that he’s equally as capable of running like an outside back.

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Despite having the glut of territory and possession early in the Sunday afternoon clash between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes in Christchurch, the visitors struggled to build much ascendancy on the scoreboard.

The Hurricanes had just two penalties to show for the efforts – plus a pair of almost-tries that could have seriously dented the home side’s confidence – when the Crusaders marched the ball up the field through a brace of penalties.

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A lineout penalty saw Ardie Savea sent to the sin-bin and from an ensuing penalty, Taylor took a quick tap and bashed his way over the line.

Fresh from the more traditional front-rower try, Taylor decided that he needed to stretch his legs amongst the backs.

Having shifted the ball to the left side of the field, the Crusaders headed back to the right, where Taylor was waiting in the midfield.

Receiving the ball just outside his side’s 22, Taylor put his head down and charged into a massive gap in the Hurricanes defensive line. Racing between prop Fraser Armstrong and flanker Reed Prinsep, Taylor put on the afterburners and charged almost 50 metres downfield until Hurricanes fullback Jordie Barrett raced up to meet the stampeding rhinoceros.

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With support on either side, Taylor spun a perfectly placed pass to the left for halfback Mitch Drummond – who was caught from behind by his opposite number.

Richie Mo’unga, like any good No 10, was racing up on Drummond’s inside and a flat offload from the halfback found its man. From there, it was a simple run to the try-line.

During his formative years of Super Rugby, Taylor made a name for himself as a damaging runner – equally as comfortable carting up the ball in the forwards as he was charging down the tramlines like a mini Jonah Lomu.

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While the 29-year-old certainly never lost his pace, the All Blacks selectors will certainly appreciate being reminded that just because Taylor has picked up a few silver hairs over the years, he’s still just as potent a ball-runner as he was when he first burst onto the scene.

Mo’unga’s converted score took the Crusaders out to a 14-6 lead but the pain wasn’t over for the Hurricanes, with the home side notching up two further tries throughout the eventful first half.

While the Hurricanes managed a shock win in Christchurch last year, ending a three-year home undefeated streak for the Super Rugby champions, there’s little chance of the visitors pulling off another upset now, trailing 26-6 at the break.

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Watch: All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor bamboozles Hurricanes defence to set up outstanding try

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