Almost 12 months after his switch from the Wales Sevens to the Ospreys, flying winger Luke Morgan is among those back for pre-season and preparing for a big year ahead.
Bridgend born Morgan made an immediate impact in the fifteen a side game, scoring nine tries before Christmas including a hat-trick against Zebre at the end of November, as well as receiving an unexpected first senior cap with Wales, and he admits that the challenge he faces now is to build on that platform.
“It’s good to be back in” said Morgan.
“There’s one obvious difference this year and it’s that I’m here for a full pre-season this time instead of coming in half-way through off the back of a full sevens campaign like it was last season.
“Last year was an incredible roller coaster and things happened for me a lot quicker than I could have thought to be honest. It was my first year at this level and it went well but I have to crack on from here.
“I’ve got a good 12 months experience under my belt now, another year of fifteen a side, I’m just excited about the new season and looking forward to getting back on the pitch again. If last year started well, this year I’ve got to go another level up and keep doing it consistently.”
A proven finisher of the highest standard, Morgan’s sevens career saw him score 131 tries from 202 matches in the World Sevens Series as well as playing at two Commonwealth Games and last summer’s Rugby World Cup Sevens, and is Wales’ leading try – and points – scorer of all time in the shortened version of the game.
Reflecting on the flying start he made last season, including tries in both regular season clashes with the Scarlets, Morgan says it wasn’t just about being an unknown quantity in the Guinness PRO14.
“I suppose you could put it down to the element of surprise but I’d also say the way we were playing was a reason as well” he continued.
“I like to get the ball in my hand and my strengths are my speed and taking people on. I brought that with me from the sevens culture, I’ve learnt how to find my way to the tryline, and things came together well for me at the start of last season.
“We’ve all had some work-ons from the coaches and that has to the focus for us all individually over pre-season so that by the time we get to the new season we can go flying into it.”
Echoing the comments earlier this week from his wing colleague and rival, Keelan Giles, Morgan spoke enthusiastically about the competition for places in the squad over the summer, laughing off suggestions of being a senior player one season into his fifteen a side career while accepting that he has a role to play in the day to day training environment:
“There is huge competition, definitely. When you talk about players like Hanno and Keelan, never mind some of the exciting youngsters we have coming through, the coaches have plenty of options so no one can take anything for granted. That extra challenge, the extra push, it’s important for us.
“Am I a senior player now? I don’t know. I’ve got plenty of experience from sevens, international rugby, that other boys don’t have, so if anyone thinks I can help them learn or develop I will. I think that’s what it’s like here. While we are competitive, we all help each other and are pushing each other.
“That’s nothing to be scared of. If you’ve got to say something, then it’s got to be said. If that makes me a senior player, whatever, but I’m enjoying being part of the group.”