In the return of our feature series, the Open Universities Australia (OUA) Dream XV, we caught up with former Wallaby, NSW Waratah and Randwick legend Morgan Turinui.
Turinui is known as one of the great thinking minds in Australian Rugby. As a player he earned 20 Caps for the Australian Wallabies between 2003-2005. He had earlier captained the Australian Schoolboys team from Waverley College in Sydney. Morgan is currently the General Manager of the Classic Wallabies, an organisation working as a point of contact for past Wallaby legends and those wanting to give back to the game’s grassroots. He is also Club Coach of the Randwick Club in Sydney
The premise of the Dream XV is extremely simple; we’ve asked Morgan to name a fantasy starting side, in their appropriate positions, of players he would love to play alongside.
He can select players he was able to call teammates, players he has come up against, or even players he admired from afar as a Rugby fan, and he can pick them based on whatever criteria appeals to him.
Morgan Turinui’s OUA Dream XV
1. Kees Meeuws – I’ve pushed Kees across to Loosehead prop away from his favourite Tighthead position to accommodate the Tighthead I had to have. I loved the fact that he was a try-scoring prop. He did all the core stuff well and had the respect of everyone in the team. He was just an exciting prop to watch.
2. Keith Wood – He was probably the forerunner to the really skilful hookers. He could chip and chase when he had to and I loved the way he played the game.
3. Fosi Pala‘amo – He played Aussie Under 21’s but then represented his homeland of Samoa and ended up in Leinster (Ireland). He’s the most skilful prop I’ve ever seen. He had the size to hold up the scrum and be really dominant but just a good footballer in a prop’s body.
4. Shawn McKay – A lot of people will know he was my best mate and growing up together from the age of 6 he played in the second row. He ended up playing Australian Sevens and then Super Rugby in the backrow but was always a second rower. If I had the chance to play one more game with him, I’d definitely take it (Shawn passed away on the 6th April, 2009).
5. Bakkies Botha – It’d be good to have Bakkies on your team bashing people other than you. He’s just an excellent player. You need that physicality but he was also an excellent lineout jumper with a good technical knowledge of the game.
6. Sean McMahon – The one guy that I coached that I would have love to have played with. If you’re in the trenches 5 metres from your try-line there’s no-one else you want next to you. He’s still killing it in Suntory and hopefully we get to see him in the Wallaby Gold jersey again.
7. George Smith – Quite simply the best player of my generation. I actually played in the centres at Stade Francais (Paris) with him so that’s how adaptable he is. Just the best!
8. Buck Shelford –. I grew up with a Maori Dad, so my first jersey was an All Black’s jersey before I saw the light. I saw him in the 1988 game playing for the All Blacks against Randwick at Coogee Oval. It was one of my first memories of rugby and I got to see this talismanic All Blacks captain from a team I had watched a lot of growing up.
9. Chris Whitaker –The greatest team-mate you could ever ask for. The best pass off the deck in world rugby. Probably still has got the best pass in world rugby and he can hardly bend over to pick up the ball. An excellent underrated halfback and probably would have played 100 Tests if not behind George Gregan.
10. Mark Ella – After missing watching him play it would be great to be out there with him just to see what it’s like and hopefully have him put you through a few holes.
11. David Campese – I wanted to put him in the number 14 because he loves to wear the number 11. I grew up at Coogee Oval with Steven Hoiles (16 Caps for Wallabies) and Pat Phibbs (73 Caps for ACT Brumbies) watching guys like Campo play. To share the field with another all time great would be amazing.
12. Reni Maitua – We grew up playing Rugby Union together and he went on to play for the Bulldogs and made his name in Rugby League but played at Clovelly (in Rugby Union) from the age of 7 all the way through in Randwick representative teams. He was an amazing footballer who would have made it all the way in Union.
13. Frank Bunce – As a centre growing-up he was a guy I admired and tried to copy. In an All Black team I watched a lot of, he was a stand-out.
14. John Kirwan – He was a guy I had a poster of on my wall. To share the field with someone like that would be brilliant.
15. Russel Fairfax – A guy who was a couple of generations before me. He played a lot of Rugby League but as a student of the game some of his play from Australian Schoolboys through to Randwick 1st Grade was amazing.
We’ve spoken to some of Australia’s most-loved past players and asked them to nominate their Open Universities Australia (OUA) Dream XV. OUA, our official Education Partner, are helping Australian players’ off-field dreams come to life through their in their support of RUPA. OUA support RUPA and the players by providing multiple full scholarship opportunities every year, with current and former male and female players all eligible to apply.
OUA’s mission is to make studying at university possible for everyone, anywhere, at any time in their lives. They offer hundreds of subjects and over 300 degree programs across a variety of disciplines from leading Australian universities.
They also enable their students to customise their university experience by selecting subjects from multiple universities, graduating with a qualification from the university where they studied the most. The flexibility of studying online also means OUA students can tailor their study load to fit around their availability and existing commitments. For more information, visit http://www.open.edu.au or phone 13 67 36.