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Saracens centre Duncan Taylor hoping for extended run in first team after injury to Brad Barritt
Saracens centre Duncan Taylor admits he has a "big opportunity" to prove himself in the first team after first-choice number 12 Brad Barritt was ruled out for three months with a foot injury.
Taylor was handed a starting spot against Gloucester Rugby on Sunday and played 75 minutes in the Men in Black’s convincing 44-12 bonus-point win.
The Scot joined Saracens from Bedford Blues two years ago but has struggled to earn an extended run in the line-up, making 14 appearances in the Premiership last season.
Barritt’s absence however finally gives Taylor a chance to impress.
"It does give me an opportunity," Taylor said. "It’s a massive, massive blow for the team losing Brad - but it’s also a big opportunity for me as well to try and get a bit of game time so we’ll see how things go over the next few weeks and hopefully I’ll play a bit more.
He continued: "You’re always trying to prove yourself when you go out and play. I haven’t had too many starts and obviously with the injury to Brad it gave me a big opportunity to have a run-out against Gloucester.
"You’re always out there trying to impress the coaches so it was good for me to play and hopefully now I can get a run of games in the side."
As well as Barritt, Taylor is up against the likes of Owen Farrell, Joel Tomkins and Michael Tagicakibau while new signing Tim Streather was Nottingham’s record try scorer last season.
Biarritz Olympique’s Marcelo Bosch, who can play anywhere in the back line, is also expected to join after the end of the South American Rugby Championship.
"I knew when I signed for Saracens that it was going to be a tough challenge to actually get in the starting team and get game time under my belt," Taylor said.
"So it wasn’t a shock in that sense but I’ve learned loads off the players here – there are some outstanding backs at Saracens and some world class players.
Taylor earned his first full international cap for Scotland against South Africa in the summer and is hoping an extended run in the Sarries team could see him play a part in the Six Nations.
While centre is Taylor’s preferred position, the 24-year-old can also play wing and full-back – something he admits hasn’t always helped his pursuit of a starting spot at Sarries.
"Centre is where I want to play, I think being a utility player can be a bit unfair because it does make it easier to get thrown on the bench so you can cover a few positions.
"So it can be frustrating but to be honest I'm happy playing wherever I get told to play, it doesn’t bother me too much as long as I’m playing.
"At the moment I wouldn’t want to leave this club, I’m happy here, I love all the people here and I enjoy my time here."
Saracens take on Bath Rugby at home this weekend, looking to cement their place at the top of the table and become only the second side in Premiership history to begin a season with three bonus-point victories.
Bath have started well themselves, beating Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers, and Taylor is expecting Sarries' opponents to be serious challengers this season.
"I 100 per cent think they can challenge at the top, they’ve had a great start to the season, they’re a strong side and I think it’s going to be massive test at the weekend," he said.
As well as Barritt, Saracens are expected to be without Kelly Brown (ankle), Will Fraser (shoulder), Alex Goode (shoulder) and Charlie Hodgson (achilles) but Neil de Kock could return from a foot injury.
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