WELLINGTON - Rookie All Blacks playmaker Tom Taylor can't be afraid to "boss" players he may have once been in awe of says fullback Israel Dagg.
The spotlight will be on Taylor and how he handles his Test debut at five-eighth against Australia in Wellington on Saturday, with both teams quizzed relentlessly on the topic this week.
Dagg, a teammate of the 24-year-old for two seasons at the Crusaders, says Taylor's best response to the pressure of a Bledisloe Cup Test is to rely on his natural instincts and not be afraid to speak up despite being surrounded by veterans.
"He's a young guy coming into a new environment but I told him to boss the boys around, it doesn't matter who they are.
"The forwards are pretty small-headed, they don't really know what to do," Dagg said.
"I think he'll have nerves but I've told him to relax and back his game because he's a quality player."
Taylor is effectively the All Blacks' fourth-choice five-eighth after Dan Carter was ruled out ahead of the 47-29 win in Sydney and Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett injured themselves during it.
Renowned for his composure, Taylor says he aims to guide the team in word and in deed.
"As a 10 you need to tell people what to do.
"But I also like to think I lead by my actions as well," he said.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen admits Taylor's promotion ahead of 10-Test veteran Colin Slade hinged on his superior goalkicking.
While Dagg says Taylor's radar is lethal — he slotted 17 from 19 shots as the second-string goalkicker behind Carter in Super Rugby this year — his general play is under-rated.