Duncan Taylor: Rugby World Cup dream was light that helped me through injury hell

Duncan Taylor is all smiles as the Scotland Rugby World Cup squad is unveiled at Linlithgow Palace
Duncan Taylor is all smiles as the Scotland Rugby World Cup squad is unveiled at Linlithgow Palace
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Scotland centre Duncan Taylor has revealed his World Cup dream was the light that led him through his three-year injury nightmare.

The Saracens ace suffered one setback after another as his list of ailments piled up.

From tearing his hamstring during Scotland's 2016 summer tour of Japan, he then twice had to go under the knife to solve ankle issues before a concussion ruled him out again.

Another hamstring tear was then followed by shoulder and concussion problems, all before rupturing his knee ligaments last September.

That kind of bad luck would be enough to knock down lesser men but the 29-year-old, aided by the cheery outlook of both his club and national team medical staffs, refused to bow to his run of woe as he kept his focus firmly on the World Cup.

And the reward for his unshakeable determination is a return to the Far East after being named in Gregor Townsend's 31-man squad for this month's tournament.

"It's an amazing feeling to be in," said Taylor, who is now favourite to start in Scotland's midfield alongside Sam Johnson when they kick-off against Ireland in Yokohama on September 22. "It's a massive deal for me and my family.

"The whole of last year working hard in rehab was all just aimed at putting myself in the shop window for the World Cup. So all that hard work in the gym and in the treatment room has paid off, which is pretty special.

"It's tough to overcome those dark days but I'm lucky that at Sarries and here with Scotland I'm surrounded by good people, good physios and good S and C (strength and conditioning) staff who have all kept me positive and on the straight and narrow.

"I never feared the worst. I always had positive feedback from the physios which meant I never allowed those dark thoughts to enter my mind. Everyone was sure I'd be back to my best when I was able to get fit.

"The last nine or 10 months has obviously been a massive learning curve but I think I've built up a bit of mental resilience through these injuries.

"I feel as strong mentally as I ever have. It has been properly mentally challenging these last few years but being surrounded by such amazing people has really helped. I feel if there are more injuries that come along in my career I'm in a good place to deal with them."