The great American sports writer Red Smith was once asked why he went to the annual spring training camps for the baseball teams in Florida and then followed teams around the country for months. ‘In the hope’, he replied, ‘that one day I’ll see another Joe DiMaggio come to light’.
Lachlan Turner, the Waratahs winger, is not in the DiMaggio class now, or ever (few players of any sports will ever be) but on his display against the Crusaders at the SFS, he’s the next new star of Australian rugby. And looking for stars to emerge and identifying them when they do, is one of the joys of writing about sports. So it’s wonderful to pronounce that a star is born.
Speed is an attribute that can’t be coached, and Turner has got it. Terrific speed. He ran around Rico Gear and then Leon McDonald in a scorching 65m burst that revived a Waratahs side that looked ready to throw in the towel. His work under the high ball and his kicking was exemplary. He has real rugby instincts. And best of all, he is a big match player. He scored the winning try last year against NZ in the final to win the IRB World Championship under-19 tournament. Now he has played brilliantly against the best provincial team in the world.
A place in the Wallaby squad is the next stage surely for Australian rugby’s new star player to shine.
[pics via NSW Rugby]