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Turner looks to build on Scarlets win

Lachie Turner wants Exeter Chiefs to build on their encouraging start to pre-season by delivering another big display against visiting Ulster Rugby this Saturday at Sandy Park (3pm).

The Australian international was among a 30-strong group of players who were given their first run out of the new 2016/17 season when the Chiefs defeated the visiting Scarlets 45-3 at the weekend.

Although not on the scoresheet himself, Turner – who arrived in Devon during the second half of last season after a spell playing in France with RC Toulon – took the opportunity in the summer sunshine to lay down some early foundations in front of watching head coach Rob Baxter.

Full-back Turner played for the first 40 minutes and was then used later in the contest as the Chiefs delivered a powerful six-try victory against the Welsh region.

Olly Woodburn helped himself to a brace of tries, while there were further touchdowns for Harry Williams, Tom Johnson, Matt Jess and Thomas Waldrom.

Post-match, the experienced 29-year-old back talked up the Exeter performance, insisting it was a 'clinical' first outing for last season’s beaten Aviva Premiership finalists.

"It was pretty clinical from the guys," he said. "When we got things right we showed we are a real dangerous side. It’s a great starting position for us and we are pretty happy with that."

After a short, yet gruelling pre-season programme, Turner admitted it was nice to finally get back on the field and play some running rugby.

He added: "We are professional rugby players, not professional trainers, so it is always nice to have a game to actually showcase what you have been working towards. It was a short pre-season – I have definitely done longer – but I don’t know if I have done one any more intense than that, so I am glad to see the back of it now.

"It is very different to what I would have done back home in Australia, but that’s all about fitting in here with the Chiefs. It is unlike anything I have ever done before, so it has taken me a bit more time (to settle in) than I thought it would, but I am really enjoying it.

"It is a massive change, but I think the way we are doing things we are onto something. You can see that in the results of the club over the last five years."
Turner has recently been joined at the club by two fellow Aussies in Dave Dennis and Greg Holmes and already his compatriots have had him hard at work in a different role away from the club itself.

"They have asked me to look after them and show them around Exeter, so I’ve been more tour guide than footie player at the moment!

"That said, the recruiting the club has done has been phenomenal, and that’s not just the Aussie boys, there is Ollie Devoto as well, and what these characters are going to bring to this club, and the depth we have at the club now, is phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see all of them getting involved with the club."

Bringing in such talent, though, means the competition for starting places is going to be even more intense and Turner is looking forward to the challenge of trying to cement a first team spot.

He continued: "It is a massive long season and you need as many people in the squad as you can get and as many quality footballers. Injuries are part of the game unfortunately, so you will have to ask people to step up at different times.

"Just looking at young Joe Simmonds today, you can see how he has grown through the recent Premiership Sevens tournament, and to step up the way he did today after Will Hooley suffered a head knock was phenomenal, and the two young scrum-halves (Stuart Townsend and Jack Maunder) stood up and played some really good footie with our tens, so you have got guys there who people won’t have heard from but will play a part at some point this season.

"It is not always the match winners that you need; it is the guys who are doing the work behind the scenes to make a really strong club."

And talking about the win over the Scarlets, Turner said: "That was tough, Scarlets were very strong on the ball and they were strong defensively, and we really had to work today for that win. I am sure when Rob (Baxter) looks at the tape of the game, he will be very happy, and the players will be as well. It is a great starting spot, and we can build on that over the next couple of weeks and hopefully give guys like Steeno (Gareth Steenson) a few more shots at goal."
 

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