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Morgan Morris Picks Up First Silverware Of The Season For The Ospreys

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By David Parsons

Ospreys back row powerhouse Morgan Morris got an early season boost when he picked up his award as the Welsh Rugby Writers’ Association Young Player of the Year for the 2022-23 campaign.

The 25-year-old already has 76 appearances for his home region under his belt and is hoping to add a senior Wales cap to the ones he has already earned at U16, U18 and U20 levels.

He signed a contract extension with the Ospreys in April and will surely be one to watch this season.

“As a team we weren’t overly happy with our performances and where we ended up by not winning the Welsh Shield last season, and failing to make the top eight,” admitted Morris.

“That makes it harder for me to look at my own performances and think I did well because at the end of the day it’s a team game and we want the team to do well. But I’m pleased to have won this award’

“We’ll be gunning to do as well as we can this season in the league, Europe and in the Welsh Shield. We want to do as well as we can in everything we enter.”

Morris just missed out on a place in Warren Gatland’s World Cup training squad but has still been working hard all summer to get ready for the new season.

The United Rugby Championship may not kick-off until Saturday, 21 October, when Ospreys head to Connacht but a lot of hard work preparing for the new season has already been put in.

“It’s been a lot longer pre-season than we’re used to and there’s still a long way to go. Even so, it’s been good,” added Morris.

“We’ve almost had a clean slate this year with new people coming in, and some big names leaving. Everyone is starting again and we’re getting closer together as a group and to the coaching team.

“I think it’s actually helped us having a longer pre-season, so we can bond as a team. We’ve had longer to work on our weaknesses as players as well as our strengths.

“We’re getting better, and hopefully this season we’ll do better as individuals and as a team. This longer pre-season has helped us because we’ve had more one-on-one time for personal improvements.”

Two of his Ospreys back row colleagues from last season Jac Morgan and Dan Lydiate, are both heading to the World Cup, as are 2022-23 pack members Nicky Smith, Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake and Tomas Francis. Both Lydiate and Francis are moving on to play their rugby elsewhere in 2023-24.

Taulupe Faletau and Aaron Wainwright picked up the No8 spots in Gatland’s 33-strong squad for France, but Morris intends to keep fighting to try to break in this season.

“I want to play for Wales, just like everyone else. Every man and his dog wants to play for Wales if they’re from Wales,” said Morris.

“All I can do is keep playing as well as possible for the Ospreys and hopefully I get a call-up at some point. Like any other young player, I just love playing rugby and it’s nice to hear people think I’m getting better every year.

“I probably played more rugby than ever last year and the more I play, the more I get into the game, the better I feel and the happier I am.”

While stalwarts such as Alun Wyn Jones and Lydiate have moved on, Morris will still have one of Wales’ greatest back row forwards of the past decade to lean on and learn from in skipper Justin Tipuric.

He opted out of going to the World Cup, but is definitely all-in for the new season at the Ospreys.

” The fact he’s been here with us for a full 16-week pre-season means we’re really privileged. If you want any advice, he’s there for you, and we’re lucky to have him,” added Morris.

“Every year I’ve been at the club he’s been really good in terms of helping me. He’s probably one of the easiest people to talk to in the whole squad and one of the most helpful if you need anything.

“We’re all looking at the new season as a clean slate – there will be no looking in the rearview mirror because last season has gone.

“There are no worries for the boys like we had last season, everyone knows where they are for the next couple of years at least.”

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