Scotland home for now for Aussie Taylor

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Matt Taylor hasn’t coached in Australia since 2012 but Scotland's defence coach still has a soft spot for some of his former charges when he faces a Wallabies Test match.

Taylor was part of Queensland’s coaching team in 2011 when they won the Super Rugby championship, before taking up a job as assistant in the Scottish national team.

The former Southport coach will be looking to catch up with some of his former charges this week, but there won’t be any national secrets swapping hands.

Saturday will be the third time he’s come up against Australia and a pivotal moment in last year’s World Cup quarter-final thriller proved somewhat of a personal conflict, though his allegiances are entirely tied to the Scots as a coach.

Matt Taylor in his time at the Reds. Photo: Getty Images“From a personal level it was funny in the World Cup, James Slipper was the one who gave that intercept try and at the time I was so happy or us as a group because I was thinking with four minutes to go, that we had a good chance of winning that and from a personal level, I probably felt for him a little bit because I know him pretty well],” he said.

“It's always a funny one against Australia. A lot of my family, who are Scottish, will all be going for Scotland.

“There's a number of them at home who are quite proud Australians as well. So it's always a funny Test match but I'm really looking forward to the occasion.” - Matt Taylor

While that quarter-final was relatively high-scoring, Scotland’s defence threw the Wallabies at times and the Scots have won two of their past four against Australia, by turning the game into a grind.

This time around, Taylor said his focus defensively would be cutting the Wallabies’ opportunities off at the source.

“If you look at the stats, where they score tries they score a lot from set piece, particularly lineout, so we went  into the World Cup quarter-final with a certain plan and one of them wasn't to give them a lot of great set piece ball and they managed to do that,” he said.

“We need to be a lot better than we were in that game. We managed to force a  few tries through our defence through intercepts, through charge downs so again we'll be looking to keep pressing them in that regard.”

Taylor, who played much of his senior rugby career in Scotland and featured for Scotland A is contracted in Scotland for the next two seasons and hopes to carry on until at least the 2019 World Cup with the national side, while also splitting his duties with an assistant gig at Glasgow.

“I love it here,” he said.

“I've just signed on for another two years with Scotland and i'm hoping if everything goes well that I get through at least to the World Cup.- Matt Taylor

“As a professional coach you're just always looking to do your best.  My family's very settled here, my kids love it here and I love it here but I suppose rugby coaching in any regard, you’re just on to your next contract aren't you?

“I'm here definitely for the next two years after the Six Nations and then we'll see what happens but I love it here and I feel like I've got a lot to offer Scotland still so I'll just see how things go.”

All of the Wallabies’ Spring Tour Tests will be broadcast LIVE on beIn Sports and streamed LIVE on Foxtel Go (for Foxtel subscribers).