One of Ospreylian rugby's most loyal servants will be the centre of attention at the Talbot Athletic Ground on Saturday afternoon, when Richard Morris makes his 500th appearance for Aberavon.
Newport are the visitors for this landmark occasion, coincidentally, the same opposition that the Wizards faced sixteen seasons ago when Morris made his debut as a 21 year old at Rodney Parade on September 5th 1995, having previously played at Pontrhydyfen, Neath Athletic and Neath.
Two seasons after joining the club, he won Player of the Year, something he repeated in 2000/1, 2002/3 and 2003/4. He also picked up Clubman of the Year in 2002/3 - the season in which he scored 25 tries. This is the club record for the most tries scored in a season by a forward.
His 100th game came at home to Llanelli in 1998/9, his 200th game away to Bonymaen three seasons later, his 300th game away to Ebbw Vale in 2004/5, and his 400th game at home to Waterloo in 2008/9.
A durable back-rower, Morris also holds the club record for the most ever tries, having scored 153 for the Wizards. His first try for the club came in a friendly at Llanelli on January 13th, 1996. He passed 100 club tries in 2003/4 at Bridgend and scored his 100th league try at home to Newport last season. His latest try was scored in the Wizards 18 - 7 win over Pontypridd on January 2nd this year.
Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys, paid tribute to the player on his incredible achievement, saying:
“It’s only right that Richard gets due credit for what has been fantastic service to Aberavon RFC over the last 16 seasons. He has shown real loyalty to the club and his achievements in a Wizards shirt speak for themselves.
“To make 500 appearances for one club and to still be going strong is incredible. It’s certainly something that is unlikely to be repeated in the modern era, and Richard and his family can take immense pride. It is people like him are the lifeblood of rugby in the region, and we should all celebrate when they hit special landmarks like this.”
Richard and his family will join the Ospreys as a guest of the region for the home game against Glasgow on Friday 2nd March in recognition of his fantastic achievement.