RUGBY UNION: Taylor keen to build on firm foundations

8:00am Thursday 30th January 2014

By Ed Mezzetti

JACOB Taylor says leading a special club rather than making history is his main motivation as he begins his reign as Oxford University captain.

The 26-year-old was chosen as Dark Blues skipper by his fellow players after a six-hour election session.

Oxford have never won five successive Varsity Matches in the history of the showpiece clash, so Taylor will be the man leading that charge.

“It is a big incentive,” said the Australian, who led the students for the first time against the Army last night.

“But that doesn’t really motivate me as much as the task of bringing a new OURFC squad together next year.

“I am really motivated by the players in the squad and going through a journey together.”

He added: “I am very honoured. I was pretty confident that we had a few strong candidates, but when my name was announced I was very happy.”

Taylor’s rugby CV includes two and a half years with Australia’s sevens team, for whom he was vice-captain.

“Being a senior member of that squad for a year or two was a good experience learning how to influence a team,” he said.

Taylor suceeds John Carter, who led Oxford on a record three straight occasions, winning each one.

In making his election pitch, Taylor acknowledged he has a tough act to follow and is keeping in close contact with ‘JC’ as he learns the ropes.

“It is probably one of the most fulfilling places to play rugby I have experienced,” he said.

“Part of my decision to run for the captaincy was a realisation that an environment like this comes along very rarely. It’s special and I want to play my part in that.”

Taylor played at full back in December’s Varsity win, having also appeared at fly half in the build up, but will now focus on the No 10 role.

“Especially in the role of captain, you have a lot of opportunity to manage the game and exert your influence from there,” he said.

Taylor added: “The plan is to enjoy these next few months of rugby and build for the nine months after that.

“I will look to generate a culture where everyone feels comfortable and has the opportunity to flourish.”

Taylor still played some 15-a-side rugby while involved with Australia sevens and hopes his experience has translated to the full-size game.

“I never completely let go of it, but there is a totally different tempo,” said Taylor.

“I think I have learnt a lot from sevens and hopefully many good habits.”

Taylor’s former teammates will be in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but he is ruling out a late call-up.

“Having been out of the squad for a while, it is not something you can just jump in and out of,” he explained.

Taylor is one of Oxford’s Rhodes Scholars and hopes to continue his anthropology studies with a DPhil.

While New South Wales remains home, he is now very settled over here and putting down ‘cultural’ roots.

“I have some family in Yorkshire, so I think I have a football side to support now in Hull City,” he said.

Although a proud Aussie, Taylor has resisted bragging too much about their Ashes cricketing success.

“I am staying pretty quiet because I am going to be here for a few more years and more Ashes series!” he said.


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