News24

Morgan picks Eng over Wales

2012-01-04 15:03

London - Ben Morgan has pledged his allegiance to England after Wales too expressed an interest in the promising back-row forward.

England will be without James Haskell for the Six Nations while experienced No 8 Nick Easter's international career remains uncertain given interim coach Stuart Lancaster's stated desire to give youth a chance when he names his squad on January 11.

It could all pave the way for uncapped 22-year-old Morgan to get an England call-up.

Although born in Bristol, south-west England, the Llanelli Scarlets' rising star has spent the bulk of his club career in Wales, where he previously played for Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Blues Under-20s before joining his current side in May 2009.

"I feel privileged and honoured that both Wales and England have been following me and it has taken me a while to come to this decision," Morgan said on Wednesday.

"But I'm English, I grew up supporting England and as a youngster I always dreamt of playing for England.

He added: "If I am lucky to be named in any England squad then fantastic but if not then I will knuckle down and work hard to get myself in a position where I will be.

"Right now it's about focusing on my rugby and putting my all into my career with the Scarlets with some big league and European fixtures ahead of us this month. I wouldn't even be talking about this (playing for England) if it hadn't been for them giving me a chance.

"(Scarlets coach) Nigel Davies is a great coach - he's been very honest with me and has a real vision behind player development and giving opportunities to progress players."

Davies said: "While we've known interest has been shown in Ben by Wales as well as England following a run of strong and eye-catching performances for us, it's a personal decision - and nobody can question Ben for setting his sights on the pride and dream of playing for his home country of England.

"We fully support him on his decision and if he makes it into the England squad in the future, he will have our complete backing as do all our current internationals when they play for their country."

England begin the defence of their Six Nations title away to Scotland on February 4.

AFP