NEWCASTLE Emlyn man Josh Turnbull produced a man of the match performance as Cardiff Blues sealed fourth place in the Pro14 Conference B, to keep their Heineken Champions Cup hopes alive.

The 33 year-old utility forward, a former pupil at Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, led by example with a real captain’s performance as the Blues made a thrilling second-half comeback to beat visitors Edinburgh by 34-15.

He made a game-high 19 tackles and forced two turnovers as Blues turned around a 10-3 half-time deficit to dramatically secure the four-try bonus point they needed in the final play of the game.

“They were relentless at times with their carrying and the speed of ball they were getting, and we just couldn’t get our hands on the ball at times,” he said.

“But we had a game plan, we stuck to it, and when we got to the right areas of the field we came away with points, that’s what matters. IIthink the last 10 minutes showed what we are about as a collective group, and we came away with what we wanted in the end.”

Turnbull, who has been a talisman for the Blues all season, added: “We expected a physical battle today, they are our targets as well, but we treated it as a cup final and we knew what we needed to do, and I thought we did that really well at times.

“We’ve just got to see what happens now, it’s out of our hands, and hopefully fourth place will be enough, but we wanted to get that bonus point win and we did.”

Turnbull recently celebrated reaching 150 appearances for the capital side after a mid-career move along the M4 from the Scarlets, where he made well over 100 appearances in all competitions.

He named the European Challenge Cup triumph over Gloucester in Bilbao, a 50-point European victory over Pau, and the recent double over the Scarlets as some of his highlights of his career so for with the Blues.

 “I’m quite chuffed about it, I keep picking up these little milestones, I’m enjoying playing with a great bunch of boys, we’ve got some youngsters who make me feel a bit younger than I am, and I’m enjoying it as much as I’ve ever done,” he said.

“It’s been a little while since we’ve played on this pitch, it’s just a shame there’s no fans here, but hopefully it’s not too far in the future we can have our fans back, we can’t wait to get back out there in front of them.”

The Haverfordwest-born forward also became only the fifth player in the Championship’s history to reach a double century of appearances, with 114 of those in Blues colours, after leaving the Scarlets.

The only other players to have reached 200 Pro14 appearances are Matthew Rees (202), Ross Ford (206), Ian Keatley (212) and the former Connacht talisman and record holder, John Muldoon (254).

Turnbull, who represented Wales at Under-18, 19 and 20 levels, and played in two IRB Under-19 World Championships, made his debut for the Scarlets against the Exeter Chiefs back in 2007.

In 2011 he was called up to the Wales squad for the Six Nations, and made his debut as a second-half substitute against Scotland at Murrayfield, before going on to accumulate 10 senior caps.