Cardiff’s Josh Turnbull on putting in captain’s performance against Scarlets
You don’t reach second place in the league’s all-time appearance list without learning some lessons in endurance, but not even tight calves and a lack of sleep could prevent Cardiff Rugby skipper Josh Turnbull making an impact.
With Cardiff having already used all their replacements, Turnbull soldiered on to see his team through to a 16-10 victory away to the Scarlets in their BKT United Rugby Championship Welsh derby clash.
He’d only had about three hours sleep due to a family illness and he could barely walk by the closing minutes, with both calves having tightened up but the 34-year-old warrior put in a Player of the Match display that saw him packing down both on the flank and in the second row, as he repeatedly put his body on the line for the cause.
“That’s why he’s captain, for me,” said Cardiff Director Of Rugby Dai Young. “He never misses a training session, he leads from the front in everything he does. He will always give you 100 per cent and he’s a real role model to everyone else. He was excellent again out there.”
Outlining his build-up to the game against his former team, Turnbull said: “I only had three and a half hours sleep the night before because my little girl was ill with a sickness bug. That was pretty tough.
“It’s always family first for me. Those boys out there are my family as well and I just wanted to put everything out on the field.
“It was pretty energy sapping. There was a lot of kick chase and a lot of tackling. My legs felt that!”
Cardiff’s preparations for the trip to Parc y Scarlets had been far from ideal with back-to-back defeats against Glasgow Warriors and the Emirates Lions having been followed by allegations of inappropriate behaviour by some players on a night out in a pub in the Welsh capital.
“I think we needed a response after the week we have had. It’s been pretty tough,” admitted Turnbull. “I thought 1 to 23 stood up. There was a real energy with us in defence, especially the last 20 minutes. We had to really dig deep. The boys were really fighting for each other and I think we showed that. The Scarlets beat us over 100 points in back-to-back games last season. We had to have a response to that.
“It’s a tough place to be when you are losing, but everyone bought in this week. We hadn’t delivered against Glasgow or the Lions and we had to put a performance in. I can’t praise the boys enough, especially after the week we have had.”
Despite now being in the veteran category, the stalwart Turnbull, who has made 225 league appearances, has started every game for Cardiff so far this season, moving between lock and the back row.
“There’s no taking it easy. Hopefully I will keep going for a few more years,” said the 13-times capped Welsh international. “It doesn’t matter the number on the jersey. It’s what you do for the boys and the team on the field.”
The attention now switches to another BKT URC Welsh derby, with Dragons RFC the visitors to the Arms Park next Saturday.
“The big thing we spoke about in the off season was consistency. That’s what has been disappointing. We started the season really well against Munster but didn’t back it up. Now we have had another win in a real good manner and we have to back it up against the Dragons,” said skipper Turnbull.
“There’s not much between the four Welsh regions. You can see that in the results. The Ospreys and the Scarlets drew, we have just got one up on top of the Scarlets. We have just got to refocus now and get ready for another derby.”
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