Ask Welsh rugby fans to name the most consistent regional player over the past two or three years and one name will keep cropping up - Morgan Morris.
His sustained excellence is yet to be recognised on the international front, but the back row man just keeps on delivering week-in, week-out, with his tireless carrying and work over the ball. He was at it again in BKT URC Round 3, producing yet another Player of the Match display as he captained the Ospreys to a 19-5 victory over the Hollywoodbets Sharks at the Twickenham Stoop.
Speaking after the game, his coach Toby Booth summed it up pretty well when he said: “We run out of plaudits for Morgan Morris. “In our gym, it says player of the year, player of the year, player of the year. There are very few people do that, especially given the history of the club. “Morgan having the captaincy is a person that’s going to lead by example and he is doing just that.”
So what about the player himself? How does the Swansea-born 25-year-old explain his remarkable consistency? “It’s a good question! I’m not sure,” he says. “I just want to play rugby as best as I can. “I enjoy playing rugby and the more I play, the more confident I get and the better I feel I can get into the game.”
Morris is all the more valuable to the Ospreys, as he can play right across the back row. So where does he feel he is at his most effective? “Wherever I am getting the most game-time!” he replies with a chuckle. “I obviously get on the ball a lot more as a No 8, I get my carrying. I have probably played there more than the other two positions. “So, I think I am probably most comfortable as an 8. But I can still get the carries in from the other two positions and I can get over the ball and get the defensive side in as a 7 or as a blindside. I can do all three.”
Morris’ versatility makes sense when you consider the players he most admires. They are men who cover the full range of back row attributes. “I liked Duane Vermeulen when I was growing up and, not that I want to make him feel too old, but Justin Tipuric as well. I loved watching him as a kid because he can do everything basically. “There are lot of other back rowers that have played here, like Jerry Collins and Filo Tiatia. The force they used to bring when they carried, you couldn’t see much like that anywhere else.”
Rugby runs in the blood for Morris, with his father Paul having been something of a back row legend for Swansea club Dunvant RFC. Now Morgan is following in the old man’s footsteps and doing the family proud.
As for not yet receiving the call from Wales, he remains pretty philosophical. “It’s out of my control. Whatever happens, happens,” he says. “I obviously want to play for my country like everybody else, but I’ve got to focus on the things I can control and just do the best I can for the Ospreys week-in, week-out. “The coaches here are good with that. They just tell me to worry about myself, don’t worry about anything else that’s happening around me, just worry about me for 80 minutes every weekend.”
Reflecting on the victory over the Hollywoodbets Sharks in London, Morris said: “They are a big physical team and we were up against it during the game. “They came at us with everything, especially after half-time. Credit to the boys in the front five, they were outstanding and the work we did in the scrums and mauls was absolutely fantastic. “Our defence was good as well. We were in our 22 a lot, but we didn’t give up and won a couple of penalties. Mark Jones (defence coach) has had an amazing effect on us.”
Next up for Morris it’s Saturday’s meeting with Glasgow Warriors back in Swansea. You kind of know what to expect from Mr Consistent!
Want to see the man himself in action? Get your tickets for the Ospreys v Glasgow now.