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Turnbull hails Cardiff Blues commitment and heart

2nd March 2018

After topping the defensive charts against Zebre with 30 tackles and a 100 per cent completion rate, Josh Turnbull has paid tribute to Cardiff Blues' heart and commitment and called for more.

In total the Blues made 257 tackles against the Parma-based outfit and they were successful 93 per cent of the time with every starting forward hitting 14 or more.
The Blues also forced 20 turnovers, with Olly Robinson claiming five and Ellis Jenkins four jackals.
It was undoubtedly a monumental effort from the entire Cardiff Blues squad and Turnbull was delighted with the defensive shift.
He said: “From all the boys, one to 23 it was a massive shift. We knew it would be like that given the conditions and the pitch.
“We had a game plan to make them work for it and knew we would have to defend for long periods. We looked to kick long hoping they would make mistakes we could capitalise on.
“We soaked it up and forced a lot of turnovers but were unable to capitalised as much as we would have liked in terms of the scoreboard.
“But it was great to put such a big shift in. Only once before this season have I had stats like that and that was away to Glasgow so I’m glad to do it in a win.
“We did a lot of prep during the week with Richard Hodges so I was really pleased with the way we defended and for all the boys – 250-odd tackles in a game is massive.
“We have gone to Parma before and come back with our tails between our legs because we have played the wrong way.
“Now we just need to finish this weekend with a bang before a bit of a break.”
The victory over Zebre ensured the Blues further closed the gap on the Cheetahs to six points.
It was the third consecutive triumph in the PRO14 and the Blues have only lost once in top level competition at the Arms Park since September.
Turnbull believes his side could, and probably should, be even closer to the top three and he is determined to fight all the way, highlighting the Arms Park clash against Treviso, which fell victim of the snow.
He continued: “We had a couple of close Christmas derbies and had we won even one more of them then we could have put ourselves in a really good position. But we are going well now and just have to take it one game at a time.
“As a squad we want to finish better than last year. Ideally we want to be in the top three and in those play-offs and the Champions Cup. We also have the Challenge Cup quarter-final which is massive.
“We have some big games coming up, which is exciting and we have to keep going as hard as we can.”
Turnbull, who now has 86 Cardiff Blues appearances, recently surpassed the 150 match milestone in league action.
The landscape of the Guinness PRO14 has certainly changed during his 10-years in the competition, with the addition of two South African teams and the rise and fall of rival teams.
And after watching his former region, the Scarlets, build towards the Championship title last season, Turnbull is hoping to replicate that with Cardiff Blues having signed a new deal earlier in the year.
He added: “I still remember my first for the Scarlets. It was up in Edinburgh in 2008 and I was off before half-time after rolling my ankle at a lineout.
“Ten years later so much has changes, Leinster have always been a dominant force but we’ve seen the emergence of Glasgow as a real force, Connacht winning it and the Scarlets building over four years and then becoming champions last year.
“Now I want to do that with Cardiff Blues and after signing a new contract we have a few years.
“It is tough not knowing who the head coach is but the most important thing is we had a lot of boys out of contract and they have pretty much all signed new deals.
“Whoever the new coach is they will inherit a good squad and we have a really good crop of young players coming through.”