Guinness PRO12: Will Taylor eyes Wales call with Scarlets move
Former Ospreys tighthead heading to Llanelli in the summer after three seasons with Wasps in the Aviva Premiership
Will Taylor has set his sights on breaking into the Wales squad after announcing his move to the Scarlets next season.
The 24-year-old tighthead prop will swap the Ricoh Arena for the Parc y Scarlets in the summer after three seasons in the Aviva Premiership with Wasps.
I have a strong ambition to represent my country at senior level, but my short term goal is to establish myself in the Scarlets squad.
Will Taylor on his move to the Scarlets from Wasps
Taylor has represented Wales at U18 and U20 level and was a part of the Under 20s squad for the Junior World Cup in 2010 and 2011, but has not been close to selection while playing his club rugby in the Aviva Premiership.
Scarlets duo Samson Lee and Rhodri Jones, who both signed national dual contracts this season, look to be Warren Gatland’s preferences for the front row position, with Exeter Chiefs’ Tomas Francis considered a prospect.
But Taylor hopes that his experience of top flight rugby in England will serve him well when he heads to Llanelli to challenge Lee and Jones to break into Wayne Pivac’s team.
“The past three seasons at Wasps have been hugely memorable for me,” Taylor said.
“When I came to Wasps I had played three professional games for the Ospreys so I didn’t know what to expect.
“To get an opportunity as a 21-year-old tighthead was amazing for me.
“I didn’t really know how I was going to go when I first moved up, but playing more than 20 games in my first season was a massive achievement for me.
“I hope this insight and the experiences I have gained will benefit me and the Scarlets during next season and beyond.
“I have a strong ambition to represent my country at senior level, but my short term goal is to establish myself in the Scarlets squad, and help make us as competitive as possible in all competitions.”
A former Dunvant, Swansea and Aberavon product, Taylor made three appearances for the Ospreys, with his debut coming from the bench in the Welsh region’s LV= Cup win over rivals Cardiff Blues in January 2011.
He showed before his injury that he was certainly heading in the right direction as a young tighthead…Hopefully when he returns home and joins Scarlets, he will get an opportunity to build some game-time, and I can only see him going from strength to strength.
Dai Young on Will Taylor
The Swansea-born youngster had to wait 13 months for his next outing in an Ospreys jersey, coming off the bench against Worcester Warriors in the LV= Cup.
His PRO12 debut, and only appearance to date in the competition, also came from the bench against Glasgow Warriors in March 2012, before he left for England that summer.
Taylor’s first season at Wasps, under the guidance of former Wales prop Dai Young, saw him make 21 appearances in the Premiership, of which 19 came from the bench, while his development was also hit by injury.
But Young believes that Taylor, who has made 39 apperances for Wasps in all competitions, can continue to improve if he gets game time.
“Will suffered two bad injuries and has worked extremely hard to get back playing,” Young said.
“He showed before his injury that he was certainly heading in the right direction as a young tighthead. Will played a number of games for Wasps and was improving with every match.
“He’s at the stage of his career now where he needs regular first team rugby and with Italian international Lorenzo Cittadini, Jake Cooper-Woolley and Phil Swainston playing so well, it was always going to be tough to get the game-time he needs here.
“Hopefully when he returns home and joins Scarlets, he will get an opportunity to build some game-time, and I can only see him going from strength to strength.”
With Lee and Jones both on dual contracts limiting their club appearances, and likely to be involved with the Wales squads in autumn and spring, Taylor should be able to get playing time at Parc y Scarlets.
And Pivac believes he has secured a player who is an exciting prospect and brings experience to his front row that has been propped up by young players for much of this season with injuries and international call-ups taking their toll.
“We are pleased to be adding strength in depth to our front row and welcoming Will to the Scarlets,” Pivasc said.
“He’s an exciting prospect and has experience playing in the Aviva Premiership with Wasps.
“With Samson Lee and Rhodri Jones committing their futures to Scarlets and Wales signing national dual contracts we’re looking forward to seeing the continued development of our front row.”