An emotional night in store for double centurion Turnbull

An emotional night in store for double centurion Turnbull

Josh Turnbull admits it will be an emotional occasion when he makes his 200th appearance for Cardiff Rugby in Saturday’s BKT URC clash with Leinster Rugby at the Arms Park.

On top of that landmark tally, he played 130 games for the Scarlets before moving east in 2014, while he also has 13 Test caps to his name, making him one of the truly great servants of Welsh rugby.

When the 35-year-old back-five forward steps out against Leinster, it will be his 239th match in the BKT URC. Only now-retired Connacht Rugby stalwart John Muldoon (254) has played more.

Asked whether it will be an emotional night for him when he brings up his double century, he replied: 

“Yeah, I think so.

“These milestones don’t come around very often.

“Ten years at Cardiff has flown by really. It’s gone real quick and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“I’m grateful for everything I have achieved in this region. It’s been one hell of a journey to get to here.

“I’m trying to think of all the coaches who have been here because there have been a few and there were a few down the Scarlets as well.”

As for what has kept him going during an 18-year career as a professional, he says: “I just love the game of rugby. I really do enjoy it.

“I enjoy coming in and sitting in the changing rooms with the boys. I enjoy the day-to-day training.

“To be honest, I can probably say I have lived my dream because when you are a young kid in Wales all you want to do is go out and play rugby.

“It starts out as a hobby and your hobby becomes something you do on a daily basis.

“I am fortunate I’ve been able to do my hobby as a job for nearly 20 years now, from the Academy time.

“It’s been a long journey and I’ve got a lot of great memories from it.

“There have been hard times and there have been lows, but they are actually what make you better as a person and as a rugby player.

“I am grateful to everybody who has helped me achieve what I’ve achieved in the game.”

Turnbull, who turns 36 next month, confirmed this week that this will be his final season as a player.

“It took a little bit of time, but I have accepted it now,” he says.

“My body is not feeling where it was a couple of years ago. I am not moving as well as I was. I guess it comes to us all at some point. So it’s been an easier decision for me to make.

“I’ve also got a young family. The girls are 13 and 10 now and becoming more involved in sports - netball, rugby and football - and I want to be able to spend time with them and not ruin my body to the point where I can’t enjoy doing those things.”

He had been pencilled in to make his 200th appearance against Connacht a fortnight ago in BKT URC Round 11, but he was laid low by an infected ear which left him in hospital for two days on an IV drip.

But now he’s fit and firing again and ready to pack down at lock against Leinster, having moved there this term after spending most of his career on the blindside flank.

While he is set to bring down the curtain on his playing days in a few months time, he won’t be walking away from the game as he plans to continue coaching, having worked with Welsh Premiership club Carmarthen Quins for the past four seasons.

“I enjoy it and it’s something I want to pursue after playing,” he says.

“It’s not been easy at times, combining that with playing and having a young family, but I have got to learn my trade.

“I’ve been involved in some good programmes. It’s about learning as much as I can as a coach and it’s definitely something I want to pursue in the future.”

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