Prolific Turner welcomes pressure

Tue, 09 Oct 2012 18:57
Large sevensmatturner3 Large sevensmatturner2 Large sevensmatturner

England’s South African-born speedster Mat Turner is happy to be a marked man going into the start of the Sevens World Series.

England’s South African-born speedster Mat Turner is happy to be a marked man going into the start of the Sevens World Series.

The 24-year-old was the leading try-scorer in the 2011-12 campaign, touching down 38 times, once more than his teammate Dan Norton, in the course of the nine tournaments.

Turner was also a nominee for World Player of the Year – an award he covets in 2012-13 – but he argues any extra attention coming his way will simply open up more space for the other players in an England squad he believes is their ‘best ever’.

“Last year was my first proper year cementing a starting spot and it gave me an opportunity to build performances one after the other.” said Turner.

“It was my best year so far and that’s a tribute to [head coach] Ben Ryan changing the game plan to work for our individual strengths.

“I want to be player of the year this year. It was one of my goals last year and I was just short. Top try-scorer was never a goal but somehow the boys put me in the right place at the right time and I managed to beat Dan Norton by one. I’m sure he’ll beat me by two this year to show he’s the better try-scorer.

“Do I worry about pressure? I hope people look at me and say ‘what’s he going to produce?’ It’s more of a challenge and if they start marking me up more they’ll give our other guys more room. And you can’t give any of our guys half a yard.”

England start the 2012-13 series with a settled squad of capped players and 10 of the 12 in transit to the Gold Coast Sevens on October 13-14 have lifted titles, most recently in Dubai last December.

Added to that stability, Turner believes the squad are in better physical shape than ever for the punishing tournament format which sees them play six high-intensity games in two days.

He said: “This is the best squad we’ve had. I came in late into pre-season and I was shocked at the pace the guys were running at, their physicality and the condition they were in. It’s a tribute to the coaching staff that we’re in such great shape. If you watched a video of us training and compared it to a year ago, you’d think last year’s team was a semi-pro one. There’s been a huge leap.

“Last year we’d get to Day Two a bit bumped and bruised but now we’re the fittest we’ve ever been. Dan Norton broke the England fitness testing records and it didn’t even look like he was trying that hard. He just cruised. It was scary to watch him just glide along.

“That’s going to make a difference in the way we play. Everyone knows we’ve got wheels [speed]. Now we can keep running and running and when there’s 13 minutes 50 seconds on the clock we can still go 100metres and score a try.”

To mount a challenge for a first series title, though, England need to win more tournaments after a single victory in each of the last two years. They beat New Zealand only once last season and despite a winning record against Fiji, they finished behind the Islanders in third place.

“What lost us big games and finals last year was our mistakes and we’ve been focusing on that, on ourselves and what we do rather than on the opposition. If we do what we do, and do it right, we’ll win games,” added Turner.

“We’ve beaten New Zealand and Fiji, so we know we can do it, and we’ve got guys with a huge amount of experience. Ten of the 12 have won titles. We’ve just got to channel that right.”

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SEVENS
MORE LOGS
Pool 00
Team P W D L Pts
Brazil 7s 0 0 0 0 1
Korea Sevens 0 0 0 0 10
Pool 19
Team P W D L Pts
England Sevens 0 0 0 0 19
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Fiji Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Canada Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Australia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
France Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Japan Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
United States Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Russia Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Kenya Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Portugal Sevens 0 0 0 0 0
Pool
Team P W D L Pts
Wales Sevens
Zimbabwe 7s