Former Wallaby Lachie Turner knows how big a 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia would be because he has a footy-loving three-year-old son ready to be enthralled.
It didn’t take becoming a father to James to realise what an energiser a home World Cup can be for young minds. It merely dusted off his own experience.
Turner was 16 and still at school when the 2003 World Cup went off like rugby fireworks in 11 stadiums and countless communities around the country.
“Footy was a passion and that 2003 World Cup in Australia turned it into a love,” Turner said.
“I think back to 2003 and how important it was in my development as a footy player.
“I was a young kid then and I’ve a young family now with a young bloke James, who loves his footy. I think what an awesome experience it would be for him and his development to have local games and a local World Cup.”
Less than five years after Turner was bewitched by the 12-try spectacle of a New Zealand-Wales World Cup pool game in Sydney, he was playing the first of his 15 Tests at just 21 in 2008.
Since Australia’s impressive 2027 Rugby World Cup bid launch in May, more and more people are seeing the country’s readiness to host with world-class stadiums already in place and a yearning to turbo-charge the code.
The “Back The Bid” momentum is growing with World Rugby to make a call on the host early next year.
Turner won’t be able to restrain his energetic son until 2027.
“James, JT, is already wanting to play footy. He’s three-and-a-half going on 16,” Turner said with a laugh.
“I reckon he’ll be a halfback. He’s got a pretty good mouth on him and certainly a bit of feistiness because he throws a good right hook at me. We already sit down and watch games on 9Gem.
“With the 2027 World Cup, I can see Australia having a great opportunity to capture the minds and hearts of young kids like James for the future development of the game.
“I also see how important that would be to encourage them to get off technology and get outside to play.”
Turner still gets excited when a new Test season rolls around. This opening Test at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night has extra meaning because it fires memories of his own Test debut against the French at the same ground in 2008.
Don’t ever be fooled into believing every new face is calm and nerveless.
“I remember Stirlo (captain Stirling Mortlock) coming over to me about two minutes before the anthems and saying ‘don’t worry, you’ll be fine’,” Turner said.
“For the anthems, I was trying not to be sick from nerves.
“There’ll be a lot of young guys making debuts on Wednesday night for the Wallabies and the French.
“The best advice I ever got was to get your first touch. That’s what settled my nerves and from there it was an absolutely amazing experience I really enjoyed.
“Suncorp Stadium is a great venue. It can be unbelievably loud and also claustrophobic for a visiting team when you feel it against you.”
Suncorp Stadium is locked in on the list of 2027 World Cup venues in the final bid document that is taking shape.
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