As first revealed in The Rugby Paper on Sunday, Ben Morgan has chosen to represent England instead of Wales, who he would have qualified to play for on residency grounds in the coming weeks.
The 22-year-old Bristol-born No 8 said he had thought ‘long and hard’ about his decision after both England and Wales had followed the Scarlets forward’s impressive progress since he joined the West Wales region in May 2009. Morgan has appeared 42 times in a Scarlets shirt with 15 points.
In a personal statement released via his regional club, the Scarlets, Ben Morgan said: “I feel privileged and honoured that both Wales and England have been following me; and it has taken me a while to think over and discuss with my family before I came to the decision of where I’d like to focus my ambitions for the future. But I’m English, I grew up supporting England and as a youngster I always dreamt of playing for England one day. Ultimately, if given the opportunity at international level, I want to try and take things forward with my home country.”
“It’s not about where I see myself in any squad but about putting my name forward and keeping my head down and playing. 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 in to my career with the Scarlets with some big league and European fixtures ahead of us this month.”
Nigel Davies, Head of Rugby at the Scarlets 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.
“He has progressed well, worked hard and shown great commitment and determination to take his rugby career forward and has become a big and influential part of our forwards play. 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.”