Ben Morgan chooses England over Wales


Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan has declared his international allegiance to England.

The 22-year-old was born in Bristol but would have qualified for Wales later this month on the three-year residency rule.

After weighing up his options, Morgan has opted to make himself available for England and he will immediately come into consideration for Six Nations selection.

Morgan said: "I feel privileged and honoured that both Wales and England have been following me.

"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."

Morgan started his career at Dursley RFC in Gloucestershire before joining Merthyr Tydfil and playing for Cardiff Blues Under-20s before signing for the Scarlets in May 2009.

England will be without James Haskell for the Six Nations while Nick Easter's international future is up in the air as interim head coach Stuart Lancaster looks to put the emphasis on youth.

Morgan will now be one of those players Lancaster considers strongly for selection ahead of England's squad announcement on January 11.

Although Morgan plays in Wales that will not affect his availability for England because his contract pre-dates the Rugby Football Union's decision not to select players from outside of the Aviva Premiership.

"It's not about where I see myself in any squad but about putting my name forward and keeping my head down and playing," Morgan said.

"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 am thoroughly enjoying my rugby in West Wales and the opportunities, development and experience I've been handed over the past two seasons by the Scarlets is something I am very grateful for.

"I wouldn't even be talking about this 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.

"I owe a lot of thanks to the first-class conditioning staff of Brad Harrington and Ryan Campbell, who have worked tirelessly for the first two years to get me into a position where I'm really competing on the field.

"Having Simon Easterby, Mark Jones and Vernon Cooper in the Scarlets set-up so fresh from playing is great as they bring a real energy to things.

"I want to carry on doing the best I can for Scarlets and anything beyond that will hopefully follow."