Super Rugby, Australian Rugby
NSW defector Turner will look to play fullback
October 9, 2013
Lachie Turner will get a chance to face his former Waratahs teammates when the Reds play the Waratahs in March © Getty Images
The Queensland Reds will trial NSW wing recruit Lachie Turner at fullback as they plan to boost their flagging attack with extra speed. A surprise defector from the Waratahs after two injury-affected Super Rugby seasons, Turner made a fresh start as a Red on Tuesday at the first day of pre-season training.
Turner revealed it was his desire to combine with the likes of Will Genia and Quade Cooper in a Test-laden backline that sparked his two-year deal. "It was a big inspiration for me in coming up here, a big reason for it," he said.
Turner said new coach Richard Graham's expansive vision also "sold" him on the move after a torn hamstring and broken leg ruined his 2012 and 2013 seasons. Kurtley Beale's return to the Waratahs may have made it tougher to return to NSW's back three. But the 26-year-old knows he'll have a tough job to earn and keep his Reds' spot with Dom Shipperley and Chris Feauai-Sautia boasting wing Test caps and Rod Davies to return from a knee reconstruction.
However, Graham foreshadowed a possible move away from the sideline where he's been viewed as France-bound Digby Ioane's replacement. "I'd like to see how he trains over the next three months," the coach said. "I see him playing 15 equally as well as he does on the wing. The Reds want to play an exciting brand and Lachie with his skill set - he's a big man, he's tall, he's quick and loves being involved in the game - will really suit our game in that outside channel."
Turner interchanged between fullback and wing in his first two seasons at the Waratahs in 2008-09 and is open to the move. If he did beat the likes of Ben Lucas, Aidan Toua and Mike Harris to fullback, it would give them a super-pacey back three and also force Cooper to defend in the front line. The mercurial five-eighth has muscled up at No.10 for the Wallabies in the past four Tests and Graham said he's never harboured concerns about Cooper's tackling.
A bigger worry for Reds fans has been the loss of their try-scoring potency from the 2011 title triumph, lighting up the code as competition entertainers. Last season, they scored the fourth least tries of all teams with just 31 from 17 matches as stout defence saw them finish fifth. Graham argued only slight changes were required, starting with better interplay between forwards and backs.