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Jordan Taufua urges Crusaders boss to follow him north

Jordan Taufua

Charismatic Crusaders coach Scott Robertson could enhance his All Blacks credentials by becoming a smash-hit in the Premiership according to Leicester back row Jordan Taufua.

The triple Super Rugby-winning coach, known as ‘Razor’, recently missed out in the race to succeed Steve Hansen as All Blacks’ supremo, with long-serving New Zealand coach Ian Foster chosen instead.

Taufua believes Robertson’s time will come and reckons his old boss would benefit from a stint up north. He told The Rugby Paper: “Razor’s accomplished a lot in Super Rugby so if he did come here, he’d definitely make a difference.

“With his personality and energy and good views on the game, he would bring something a bit different and that could benefit him in future.

“New Zealand have been the best team in the world for such a long time and it’s the hardest job to get. Scott (right) had a good chance and that’s not to say he won’t be there in future, but a stint in Europe might help him.”

Having shared Robertson’s success in winning the last three Super Rugby titles, as well as claiming a Mitre 10 Cup win with Tasman Makos in October, Taufua has made a big impression at Tigers as they try to claw their way out of relegation trouble.

The ultra-physical 27-year-old said: “I loved my career at the Crusaders – seven seasons, one hundred games and playing with guys who became my best mates – but for me it was solely about coming up here for a new challenge.

“When you’ve done so long in Super Rugby you need to freshen things up and Leicester, with the history they have, is similar to what we had at Crusaders.

“That definitely got me interested so I was glad to come over at the end of the Mitre 10 season and I aim to make a difference whilst keeping my rugby fresh.

“It’s really physical here with bigger men to shift, and you’re feeling everything for a few days after games. I woke up the day after playing Exeter and couldn’t even move – that’s been the biggest difference.

“It’s very set-piece orientated as well and teams like using the forwards a lot, but I’m a physical player and my game suits it here.”

Scott Robertson - Crusaders
Pedigree: Crusaders supremo Scott Robertson was overlooked for the vacant All Blacks job in place of Ian Foster. Getty Images

Taufua has never experienced a relegation fight in Super Rugby, but added: “It’s a challenge, but for me it’s just about getting better every day and as long as we keep improving as a team, results will come and we’ll move up the league.

“We’ve done it in parts of games but we’ve started well and finished badly or started badly and finished well, as you saw against Exeter and Harlequins, so we’ve got to put the two together.

“It’s not a confidence thing and you certainly can’t fault the effort – the boys are turning up. It’s just about putting that extra detail around our roles and once new relationships click, you’ll see us getting better each week.”

As one of the best players never to be capped by New Zealand, Taufua was unfortunate to be denied a crack at the World Cup. However, a silver lining is that he remains eligible for Samoa, which may open a new international window.

Taufua added: “I got into the All Blacks squad for the June Tests in 2018 and could have played against France, but I tore my calf in our first training session which put me out for six weeks, and then I broke my forearm in Super Rugby.

“That happened in our semi-final against Hurricanes so my chances of playing in the Rugby Championship or end of year tour went as well. I am still eligible for Samoa so we’ll see what happens.

“I’m just concentrating on giving my all for Leicester. It would be amazing to win championships in both hemispheres, but first it’s about smaller steps.”

NEALE HARVEY

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