Feature Interview | Duncan Taylor
There were times Duncan Taylor wondered whether or not he would ever get to the 150 game landmark he achieved for Saracens in Brive.
The Scottish international centre has had more than his fair share of injuries down the years and admits that it takes “25 minutes of strapping to get me ready before every game”. A torn hamstring on the Scottish tour of Japan started the injury catalogue before he underwent two ankle operations.
There was a 10 week absence with knee ligament damage, shoulder problems and then lengthy concerns over concussion. He has been back in one piece for quite some time now and is getting ready for another big finish to the season.
With multiple Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup titles to his name, his eyes are firmly on a few more prizes this season after helping to steer Sarries back into the top-flight after last year’s sojourn in the Championship.
It was a solid performance in a friendly game against the Men in Black while he was at Bedford that earned him the chance to join Sarries. His name was noted, he was invited to join the club on trial and then given a contract.
That was way back in 2012 and he is still here! More importantly, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“It’s obviously a very special club to me and it has been a big part of my life. I love the place and I love the people,” said the 28-times capped Scottish international centre.
“I’ve made so many great memories here and have had so much fun over the last 11 or 12 years. Reaching my 150th appearance last week meant a lot to me.
“It took me a while, but I got there in the end. Now I want to stay fit, put my hand up for selection and keep turning out for the club to contribute in any way I can.”
The fact he has reached 150 games for the club is pretty special given the competition there has been for a midfield slot during his time at StoneX Stadium. Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell have been there all the way through his career and the Fijian international Kameli Ratovou, and rugby league convert Joel Tomkins, were both on the scene in 2012.
Argentinian star Marcelo Bosch crashed the party in 2013, Wales cap Nick Tompkins rose through the ranks at the same time and Alex Lozowski just made things even harder when he arrived in 2016. Factor in the ability of Elliot Daly to play in the middle of the three-quarter line, and the recent rise of Dom Morris, and the fact Taylor has now played 150 games looks even more impressive.
“It is a hotly competitive position at the club, but we are all very tight. We keep each other humble, honest and driven – you have to keep training and playing as hard as you can to get into the side,” added Taylor.
So the question is, can he go on to reach 200 games and beyond? That is certainly his goal, along with trying to add to the club’s title tally this season.
“When we came back up into the Premiership I think we all knew the potential of this group, that we had the ability to put ourselves in the position in which we currently find ourselves,” he said.
“We never took anything for granted in our season in the Championship and when we all came back together it was as though we had never really been away from each other. We are second in the Premiership at the moment, but there is a lot more to come.
“We haven’t really hit our stride yet. In previous seasons we have sometimes peaked too early, but it seems we are building nicely now. Leicester are top of the table and are a very good team.
“They have done brilliantly and made themselves so hard to beat. But we’ve been in this position many times before and we have the experience required to make the most of it.”