- England Sevens back wants to go beyond semi-final stage
- “If we get the right balance we can go one better” – Turner
Mathew Turner is optimistic about England’s chances in Port Elizabeth and says the side is in a perfect position to progress into a HSBC World Sevens Series final for the first time this season.
England have enjoyed a solid start to the tenure of new Head Coach Simor Amor, reaching the last four on the Gold Coast in October and in Dubai last weekend.
And though a comprehensive 26-12 defeat to South Africa denied Amor’s charges a consecutive third-place finish, Turner was optimistic about making some crucial improvements.
“We showed a lot of promise in Dubai this year and there are a lot of learn-ons that we can take that should bring us further than the semi finals we’ve reached in the past two tournaments,” he said.
“I think we’ve learned a lot about each other and how we play in new combinations. If we get the right balance – which I am sure we’ll do next week – we can go one better get more points on the ladder.”
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Singling out Marcus Watson and Mike Ellery – unfortunately unavailable for this leg after picking up a quadriceps injury – for special praise following their prolific try-scoring displays in the United Arab Emirates, Turner explained the physical rigours of playing two gruelling competitions in eight days.
“Obviously Simon’s bringing in new things and it’s our second tournament as a new squad,” added the Cape Town-born 25 year-old, who qualifies for England through his mother. “We’ve been working hard to get our defence right, for one.”
“There’s always room for improvement and we are getting better and better. Now it’s the first back-to-back tournaments and we hope our fitness will shine through.
“We’ve had a week to work on our errors and we’re hopeful we’ll improve this weekend.”
In a group with Argentina and Samoa as well as Zimbabwe, England face a very tough first day tomorrow. Fortunately, Turner was in no mood to be complacent.
“You know what you are going to get with Samoa and Argentina – they are very physical and they love running at you.
“It’s going to be an interesting competition between us three in our pool and hopefully we come out on top. With Zimbabwe you never know. Their 15s team is doing well having beaten Kenya in their last game and we’ll see whether that comes through.
“It’s sevens, it’s a bounce of a ball – you never know.”