Hornby prop Ross Taylor’s time in the international spotlight was brief, but he played an integral role in one of New Zealand’s greatest victories as a try-scorer in the upset of Australia in Brisbane in 1987.
The 1976 Schoolboy Kiwis rep debuted for Canterbury and South Island in 1983 and helped Hornby to consecutive CRL premierships in 1983-84. He was a non-playing reserve during the 1985 series against Australia before being selected in the Kiwis’ squad to tour to Britain and France, scoring a try on debut against Cumbria. But the 24-year-old suffered a broken arm in his third appearance against St Helens as he was pushing for a Test spot.
Recovering from the arm injury delayed Taylor’s progress in 1986 and he missed the tour to Australia and Papua New Guinea. But he won another Grand Final with the Panthers and was a regular for Canterbury and South Island.
Taylor made his Test debut against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby in 1987, then starred in the Kiwis’ 13-6 triumph at Lang Park. He was dominant up front alongside former Hornby teammate Adrian Shelford and stormed away for a vital first-half try.
He spent the off-season with English club Hull KR but did not feature in the Kiwis’ 1988 schedule and a knee injury forced him into retirement in 1989.
NEW ZEALAND (1985, 1987)
2 Tests – 1 try (4 points)
5 tour matches – 2 tries (8 points)
-1985 Kiwis tour of Britain and France
-1987 Kiwis tour of Australia and Papua New Guinea