By Nick Friend
A year ago, Tim Turner joined Durham University as a fresher. A year on, it’s all change. Turner is nearly 300 miles away. A year after joining DURFC, the 19 year-old scrum-half is working under the watchful eye of former England and Scotland coach Andy Robinson at Bristol Rugby – an experience that he calls ‘an absolute pleasure to be part of.’
By his own admission, the opportunity to train alongside the likes of British Lions stars Dwayne Peel and Ian Evans “will improve not only [his] basic skills, but also help to mature as a player.” He has already made an impression, coming off the bench to touch down twice in a pre-season romp against Clifton RFC.
Having previously represented both England U16 and Bath Academy, Turner understands the magnitude of this opening, calling it a “fantastic opportunity to put [his] foot in the door of professional rugby.”
There’s a refreshing honesty and humility to Turner as he discusses his determination to succeed at Ashton Gate. In reference to his ex-teammates at Durham, he is almost apologetic in acknowledging the number of talented players who haven’t been given the break they deserve. It is this, he says, that acts as his motivation – claiming that he ‘owes it to them to keep working hard and to keep improving.’
The 19-year-old is grateful to Durham and what it offered him, describing it as “highly valuable to [his] rugby development.”
He recognises that he cannot rest on his laurels and tells me that his ambition is to achieve his potential – whether that means returning to Durham or representing England.
Currently living on the living room floor at a friend’s house, Turner’s ultimate dream is, by his own admission, “a long way off.”
Understandably, he is predictably upbeat – not just for his future – but also for that of DURFC, for whom he is expecting great things in the year ahead.
Photograph: John White Media