Chiefs in good health - Turner
By Mark Stevens
Lachie Turner has assured Exeter Chiefs fans that the team is heading in the right direction ahead of his imminent return back to his native Australia.
The 31-year-old brought the curtain down on his professional career last month, featuring for the final time in a Chiefs jersey in their Aviva Premiership final defeat to Twickenham.
It was the last of Turner's 47 first-team appearances for the Devon club following a two-year stint at Sandy Park.
Although it wasn't quite the fairytale finale the former Wallabies international had envisaged before he returns to take up a role in Brisbane with a leading kit manufacturer, Turner is convinced the Chiefs are moving in the right direction and that further success is not too far away.
"There was disappointment in the shed, but that is what makes me believe the Chiefs will be back for more again next season," said Turner. "It was interesting from my perspective because I was look at the game as my finale, but Rob [Baxter] was very much looking at it like a stepping stone to next season.
"His talk after the game was all about moving forward to next season and learning from the experience. That made it clear to me that he still has the drive to keep pushing into next season for another title.
"I don't doubt that the club will be there or thereabouts."
Turner is hanging up his boots after a prestigious career which has seen him feature for the NSW Waratahs and Queenslands Reds, as well as RC Toulon, whom he joined the Chiefs from in 2016.
During his time with the Chiefs, however, he has established himself as a key performer in Baxter's first-team make-up, helping the club to lift their first-ever Premiership title in 2017.
Turner has also featured for the club in the European Champions Cup and he believes the squad assembled by Baxter is more than capable of challenging for honours against Europe's elite next term.
"I think they are close to making progress in Europe," he continued. "We've made a lot of headway in the last couple of seasons. We have attacked it in the way we attacked the Premiership, but it's a different tournament and we have learned that now.
"It's a different style with a different type of refereeing, so you will see a different Chiefs style in Europe. They will make some subtle changes here and there, which I think will serve them well."