VARSITY MATCH PREVIEW
FORMER Australia sevens international Jacob Taylor says playing for Oxford University has been rejuvenating.
Taylor, who starts at full back at Twickenham today (2), has been one of the Dark Blues’ stand-out performers in the build-up to their annual clash with Cambridge.
But after spending three and a half years with the Australia set-up, he did not have a clear idea what the next step in his career would be.
The 26-year-old opted for a return to university this autumn to study evolutionary anthroplogy and has not looked back.
“Moving to Oxford and playing here has been really rejuvenating for me,” said Taylor.
“I had a little bit of time away from the game at the end of last year.
“I did some coaching in China.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure how the body would hold up to more rugby.
“But the team environment in Oxford has been incredibly welcoming. It has exceeded my expectations about how enjoyable it would be.”
Now he has made the side, Taylor can’t wait to get started.
“It is something very unique,” he said. “I have done some other things in rugby, but there is something very special about this game.
“I am very excited to be involved.”
Taylor has already enjoyed success at Twickenham, having been part of the Australia squad, who won the London leg of the IRB World Sevens series in 2010.
“I have got some good memories of the place,” he said.
“Hopefully, there will be some more on Thursday.”
Taylor added: “Sevens is very different to the 15-a-side game.
“You learn to play rugby in a different way and that can help you.
“I really enjoyed sevens, but now I have moved on to another chapter in my life.”
While the Varsity Match can be a nervy affair, Taylor can still be expected to play positively.
“In Australia we only really know one direction and that’s forward,” he said. “We love to attack.
“Here I have been trying to build a bit more tempo into my game.”
Although Taylor starts at full back and Jonathan Hudson at fly half, Oxford have the option to switch them round.
Taylor said: “My regular position is full back, but I have also been training at five-eigths (fly half) with the Blues.
“If necessary, I can fill in there.”