A new star for Australian Rugby

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    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]

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • April 3rd 2007 @ 10:48am
      Justin Brumby said | April 3rd 2007 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      He was very exciting. Shows how odd the Waratahs’ recruitment and retention policy is (and has been since the S12 started). They got it right with him but have let so many other go in favour of ARU funded ring-ins.

      Lesson no 1 – rugby players are rugby players (not much good being fast and srong if you can’t pick the lines and the rythmn of the game).

      Lesson no 2 – retain the future stars by respecting them Waratahs or the other provinces will continue to prosper (gotta love that Stephen Hoiles…)

    • April 3rd 2007 @ 11:12am
      Hayden said | April 3rd 2007 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      Fantastic for Turner and it was a treat to watch him weave past the Crusaders, the TV shot from behind the in-goal showed just how big that swerve was to beat Gear. Lets hope there isn’t too much pressure put on his every performance.

      Lets also here it for NSWRU for hanging onto Turner, for they have lost another gem in Josh Holmes apparently. If, as reported, he does head down to the Brumbies the Waratahs have screwed up big time and provided the Brumbies with the spark to run their post Gregan/Larkham backline.

      The treatment of young stars has become ridiculous when the NSWRU then bends over backwards and use there wild card payments for average players who previously sold their allegiance to league.

    • April 3rd 2007 @ 12:54pm
      Terry Kidd said | April 3rd 2007 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

      Oh no! say it isn’t so … I fervently hope that the Waratahs have not let the future Australian halfback slip through their fingers. But I can guess why he went …. game time. No young player wants to sit on their hands for an entire season with no game time.

      There is a question. What do they S14 squad members do when they are not playing, not even selected for the bench?

      How can you expect up and coming young players to quietly sit in the grandstand watching when all they want to do is play?

    • April 3rd 2007 @ 1:13pm
      Hayden said | April 3rd 2007 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

      What is worse is that Valentine and Sheehan haven’t exactly been in stirling form either. Valentine has thrown a few passes straight into touch. Yet Holmes can’t even make the bench.
      Having depth is great but trying to hold three potential Australian halfbacks was like keeping Hoiles out of the side.

      I bet Mckenzie is regretting not putting Turner’s pace against Habana instead of the prop..I mean centre Turinui in what turned out to be a tragic selection a few weeks ago.

    • April 3rd 2007 @ 1:27pm
      Terry Kidd said | April 3rd 2007 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

      Here is a question. If EMcK keeps Beale at FB and Turner on one wing, who gets squeezed out between Hewatt and Tuqiri? Or does Tuqiri remain at No13?

      Methinks that form, and the lack of it, and the need to keep educating exciting young players is going to cause some player pain at the Tahs.

    • April 3rd 2007 @ 3:09pm
      www.rugbyfobcast.com said | April 3rd 2007 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

      Well, here we go again!!!
      Turner, after a couple of week’s in the 1st XV waratahs & he is the next saviour of Australian Rugby! Well lets put more pressure on him by quoting “he shoud be the one the waratahs should be paying the big money too”.
      O.K here is my opinion on this fine footballer, remember I’m not here to ruffle feathers just giving my opinion on Turner.
      Not so long ago, a player by the name of Dom Byrne graced the Aussie Stadium fields for the tahs, with surprisingly the same hoopla surrounding Turner, coming into the team with much the same success, unfortunately this very talented player Byrne fell to the expectations & pressure that comes with being the next Waratah/Wallaby flying wing superstar.
      Same creditials, the same senario!
      I truly hope that Turner continues to shine for the Waratahs, because once the form drops & the defences of opposing teams have had time work him out & target him, as all those fallen Waratah heroes know the Media & the blood thirsty Tah supporters with be baying for blood, & not even the Great Matt Burke could escape the dreaded Waratahs Curse.
      Players of pure class, infected with the Waratahs curse
      Over the years
      Matt Burke
      Manny Edmunds
      Nathan Grey
      Dom Byrne
      Steven Hollies
      Cameron Sheperd
      Oh the list is too long