George Turner: Return to plastic pitch can add zip to Glasgow attack

Glasgow hooker George Turner believes the return to Scotstoun's lightning fast artificial surface can lead to an even more complete attacking performance in Saturday's Heineken Champions Cup clash with Lyon.

Despite the rather heavy grass pitch in France last Saturday, Glasgow still ran in five tries for an emphatic 42-22 which leaves their opponents with nothing to play for but pride in this weekend’s second half of the double header.

Turner was an early 16th-minute replacement at hooker for Fraser Brown and enjoyed his first experience of playing on French soil, even if it was a bit soggy for the liking of him and his team-mates.

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“They do loads of stats here about speed and stuff like that, and across the board everyone’s speed was down because of the heavy pitch,” explained Turner. “We play really fast rugby here at Scotstoun. It was a bit heavy on the legs at times, but we played all right.”

Glasgow Warriors' George Turner. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRUGlasgow Warriors' George Turner. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU
Glasgow Warriors' George Turner. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU

It will be back to the 4G this week and Turner added: “I think it will be easier on the legs. It might suit them as well, though – they probably like to play a bit of rugby as well. It will be good, though.

“They’ll be pretty annoyed that they got beaten on their home patch. They might do something fun.”

Turner admitted that, despite the pleasing scoreline, there had been plenty for Dave Rennie’s squad to work on in training this week.

“There were a lot of mistakes – a few turnovers and a lot of penalties,” said the 26-year-old. “Our discipline is going to be really important. And even though we scored a few tries, we left a few out there, so we want to work on our accuracy.

“We ran the structure well and we played our shape, but there were times when we kicked the ball away when it was maybe one to run. Hopefully we’ll have more chances and we’ll take them this weekend. It definitely bodes well that after those kinds of performances we’re not entirely happy. It’s always been great to win away, but we know we can do better.”

Turner believes that tightening up on discipline can see Glasgow post an even better performance in front of their home crowd and go into the new year well placed to push for the quarter-finals.

“We talked about it in the team meeting. We showed a few that were semi-penalties – I did one in the side of the maul,” he said. “They came in batches as well: when we were struggling we did two or three in a row. I don’t know, maybe it was with new players coming in and being a bit frustrated.

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“They were a good team and stressed us at times, but we’ll look to shore that up next time.”

Turner has another year remaining on his contract and is continuing to relish his rugby after being plucked, initially on loan, from the Edinburgh wilderness last summer, earning a full Glasgow contract and going on to win five Scotland caps, the last of which came against Argentina on the summer tour, a fortnight after he scored a memorable hat-trick against Canada.

“It’s going all right, I’m getting to play a bit of rugby. I didn’t get a cap from Scotland [in the autumn Tests], but it was a good experience and I trained the whole time and came back and played some good rugby for Glasgow.

“I forget that a couple of years ago I was not really getting a lot of game time. But I’ve got over 30 caps for Glasgow now and I’ve only been here a year and a half. It’s good.

“I’m still in contract for another year, then we’ll see what happens. I’m really happy here – I’m getting to play a lot, good rugby as well.

“With the Scotland boys away the last few games the players who have been here have actually stepped up really well and played really good rugby.

“With the selection a few boys are going to make it back in. We’ve got rested players who are top quality, so I think we’re going to be alright.”