Taylor treads warily on comeback trail

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The Independent Online

Simon Taylor still has six caps to make up on Jonny Wilkinson in the international Test arena, not to mention 792 points. When it comes to the injury stakes, however, Scotland's back-row crusader has been closing in on England's jinxed outside-half.

Taylor has not suffered the variety of medical problems that have afflicted England's one-time talisman but his tally stands just two short of Wilkinson's at eight. Thankfully for Scotland, the Edinburgh No 8 has won his latest battle of the wounded knee and will take a place - not his customary position but that of Jason White, at blindside flanker - against the Pacific Islanders at Murrayfield this afternoon.

It was only eight days ago that Taylor returned to club action, playing 59 minutes for Edinburgh at Newport, having undergone reconstructive surgery to his left knee after suffering medial ligament damage against Connacht in May. It is his third comeback following major knee surgery."I don't like to tempt fate," Taylor said. "You don't want to say everything's going smoothly because that's when it tends not to, but my body probably is in better overall condition than it was the last time."

For Scotland, shrugging off the Pacific Islanders is unlikely to be the easiest of tasks. Pat Lam, the Islanders' head coach, has strengthened the starting XV beaten 38-20 by Wales last week with the introduction of six new faces including Rupeni Caucaunibuca.

Scotland: C Paterson (Edinburgh, capt); S Webster (Edinburgh), M Di Rollo (Edinburgh), A Henderson (Glasgow), S Lamont (Northampton); D Parks (Glasgow), C Cusiter (Borders); G Kerr (Borders), D Hall (Edinburgh), E Murray (Glasgow), N Hines (Perpignan), S Murray (Edinburgh), S Taylor (Edinburgh), K Brown (Borders), J Beattie (Glasgow). Replacements: R Ford (Borders), A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), A Kellock (Glasgow), D Callam (Edinburgh), M Blair (Edinburgh), P Godman (Edinburgh), H Southwell (Edinburgh).

Pacific Islanders: N Ligairi (Fiji); L Fa'atau (Samoa), K Ratuvou (Fiji), E Seveali'i (Samoa), R Caucaunibuca (Fiji); T Pisi (Samoa), M Rauluni (Fiji); T Felise (Tonga), M Schwalger (Samoa), T Taumoepeau (Tonga), S Raiwalui (Fiji, capt), D Leo (Samoa), V Vaki (Tonga), N Latu (Tonga), E Taione (Tonga). Replacements: A Lutui (Tonga), J Va'a (Samoa), M Molitika (Tonga), S Sititi (Samoa), J Poluleuligaga (Samoa), S Bai (Fiji), S Rabeni (Fiji).

Referee: B Lawrence (New Zealand).