The Seattle Seawolves re-signed fullback Mat Turner for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. The South African from Cape Town is 31 years old (32 in Jan.), 5’9″, and 190 lbs.
Mat initially signed with the team in 2017. In 2019 He appeared in 15 of the team’s 18 matches, including winning the MLR Championship for the second time. He averaged 12.5 meters per carrying in 2019, running 1,358 meters & scoring 8 tries. He is a team leader, as well as a catalyst in the team’s attack. What is also apparent is his defense prevented numerous tries during the season.
Turner attended Western Province Preparatory School in Claremont, a suburb of Cape Town, and then transferred to Bishops College. While at the latter, he played first XV rugby in 2006 and finished as the top scorer in school rugby in the country, scoring 286 points.
After finishing high school, he joined the Western Province Academy and represented the Western Province in the 2007 Under-19 Provincial Championship. In 2008, he played for the University of Cape Town Ikea Tigers in the Varsity Cup competition. That year, he also was selected to the South Africa Under-20s training squad, as well as the Western Province squad for the 2008 Under-21 Provincial Championship.
In 2008, Turner moved to England to join Premiership side Bristol and made an instant impact by scoring his first try within three minutes of coming on to the field in that year’s Anglo-Welsh Cup. He also made his debut in the English Premiership against the Northampton Saints.
In 2009, Turner played for the Southern Kings in their first-ever match against the British and Irish Lions on 16 June 2009 during their South Africa tour.
Turner qualified to play internationally for England through his English mother and was selected for the England Sevens team and played int he first two legs of the 2009-10 IRB Sevens World Series. He became a regular for England and eventually went on to play a total of 34 Sevens World Series tournaments between 2009 and 2013, scoring 92 tries. In 2012, Turner was also nominated for the IRB Sevens Player of the Year award and was top try scorer of the series in the same year with 37.
In 2012 and 2015, Turner played for the Central Kings in Sri Lanka at the Carlton International 7s tournament. In August 2015, he was appointed as the head coach of the Sri Lanka national rugby sevens team, leading them to 2nd overall in the Asia Nation 7s for the first time.
Following his first season with the Seattle Seawolves, Turner played rugby sevens for Tiger Rugby at the Rugbytown 7s with the team making it to the finals in 2018 and was a Pool winner in 2019. He played for the Washington Athletic Club in the USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals in 2018 and 2019.
Seattle Seawolves 2018 Comments
“The former England Rugby 7s player punished multiple Major League Rugby opponents last season with his strong counter attacks and speed in the back three. You can find Turner in the Seawolves’ backfield making try-saving tackles, fielding kicks, and heading towards the try zone with the ball in hand this coming season.”
Turner also had another role with the team as Director Of Operations for the Seawolves.