Teammates believe hulking forward Dave Taylor could provide an 'X-factor' for the iSelect Titans if picked to take part in the inaugural Auckland Nines from February 15-16.

Taylor has been slogging it out cross-training in the club’s altitude chamber at Titans HQ for much of the pre-season as he battles a niggling calf injury, which has restricted his field training with the rest of the squad.

However, if he can prove his fitness over the next month and win selection in Coach John Cartwright’s 16-man squad to tackle the Auckland Nines, iSelect Titans fullback Will Zillman believes his size and skill could be a real asset for the side.

“Dave Taylor is one of our biggest but he’s one of our quickest so someone like him, you’d think would be well suited to the Nines,’’ said Zillman.

“We’ll just have to see, we’ve got some big guys that are really fit and quite agile as well so it’s a fairly handy position to be in.''

The Titans' pre-season focus to date has been on the regular season but with the inaugural Nines tournament just a month away, Zillman said he anticipated the side to begin specific preparations for the 9-a-side game in the coming weeks.

“I think that’ll happen in the week or two leading up to it. At the moment, we are really focussed on the season ahead and starting to get our combinations right which I’m sure most of the teams are doing.

“But coming closer to the Nines in a week or two, we'll probably start to think about it more.''