We sit down with Andrew Taylor to talk about the world of rugby and his career!
Change is something that frightens many.
Whether it be a change in lifestyle or a change in haircut, some people just can’t seem to grasp it. Someone who is not affected by such problems is 24-year old Andrew Taylor, a Trinidadian-born centre who has relocated to Southampton.
So why would anyone want to leave the beautiful island of Trinidad you might ask?
“Well the Warsash Navigational School is what brought me over here,” says Taylor. “I’m studying to be an officer of Maritime ships and it is quite a reputable college. As they are part of Solent it allowed me to play for the rugby team.”
The sport of rugby has been a huge part of Taylor’s life. He started playing the game just four years ago, yet months later he was pulling on the Trinidad national shirt; a remarkable rise for such a young talent. Rugby may not be the biggest sport in the Caribbean but it was something that was in Taylor’s blood, and he demonstrated such an amicable modesty when talking about his career to date.
“I got drafted into the national team mostly because of my size and fitness,” he says. “I didn’t expect to get called up so quickly but I have always been around rugby as my family has always played it.I knew the game before having started but I didn’t expect to go so far as quickly as I did.”
He speaks with such passion and enthusiasm that you start to get an idea as to why his progression was so rapid. However, despite his seemingly meteoric leap into the international fold, when his debut came it didn’t exactly go to plan.
“I broke my leg in the first game so I was out for the whole of my first season,” he recalls with a smile. “It was a bad break and I had to have surgery and they put a plate in so I was out for that year but I came back and now I’m playing full time.”
Apart from that early setback, Taylor has enjoyed a decent career with the national side, nicknamed the ‘Calypso Warriors,’ and he has represented his country at both the shorter and longer format of the game.Once he had recovered from the long-term injury, he became an instrumental part of a side that was ever-growing in the rugby world. Of course they are no All-Blacks, but they sit a respectable 50th in the IRB world rankings, and they are currently the highest-placed Caribbean nation.
His team-mates may count themselves lucky he even plays rugby, as he could have potentially made a career out of a game much more recognisable in the Caribbean; cricket.
“I played cricket for about ten years and again I made the national team at under-17 level,” Taylor said.“ After that though it became very time consuming. It is very difficult to become a pro cricketer in the Caribbean without sacrificing school and all these other things.“It just became too much. Rugby is a couple of nights a week and it doesn’t take that much time out of your life.”
Time is certainly on Taylor’s side.
At just 24, he is in his third year at Solent University and will hope to pursue his career ambition when he graduates next summer.
If not, a career in rugby doesn’t seem too far-fetched, although if he does become a maritime ship officer, he will further justify his decision to leave his tropical paradise for more humble surroundings on the south coast of England.