FORMER Port Pirate Chris Turnham is a step closer to his dream of playing high-level rugby in his adopted homeland.
Turnham is closing in on a spot with the Atlantic Canada side before the country’s rugby championship starts in coming months.
The flyhalf is excelling in the Canadian game since moving over from Port Macquarie, and has already been invited to trial for the team, also known as Atlantic Rock.
The team draws its players from the five eastern provinces of Canada: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Turnham got involved in the trial after linking up with club team Halifax Tars with good mate and fellow Port Macquarie product Mark Harris.
“They’ve been awesome,” Turnham said of the Tars.
“Straight off the bat, they came across as such a similar club to the Pirates. They’re very welcoming and they love a good time.”
He didn’t expect such strong rugby in the North American region, and Turnham was surprised at the quality.
He said the style is different to the Australian game.
“It’s a lot more condensed, so there’s a lot of opportunity for the outside backs,” he said.
Turnham is excited about how well he’s playing at the moment, especially at flyhalf.
“I hadn’t played flyhalf for a few years,” he said. “I’d been playing in the back row the past few seasons for the Pirates.”
Making the Rock team will speed up the Canadian citizenship process for Turnham, and a spot in the national side could follow.
Turnham said that wasn’t a part of his thoughts yet.
“A Canada spot would be unreal, but I’m getting way ahead of myself even thinking about that,” he said.
The next Rock trial weekend is in Montreal in May, then there’s one in Newfoundland in June.