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Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones in action for the Scarlets

Morgan growing into Scarlets role

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Morgan Jones is literally growing into the second row position at the Scarlets and feels big enough these days to shoulder any expectations of him.

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The gangly 18-year-old on who the Scarlets took a punt on three years ago is blossoming into one of the best young locks in the professional game.

His arrival on the senior scene this season has been so impressive that last week’s news about the departure of Jake Ball at the end of the season wasn’t being viewed as being as big a disaster as it might have been.

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Along with Jac Price and Josh Helps, the 21-year-old Jones is making an impact and impression that few believed possible when he first arrived in the land of his grandfather. Today he is viewed as a ready-made replacement for Ball at the Scarlets, while others see him as a potential long-term candidate for a spot in the Welsh second row.

“All I’m trying to do is improve with every training session and every game. I’m fighting for my place in the Scarlets side at the moment and that’s the only thing on my mind,” said Jones.

“Being able to play for the team I supported as a young kid, and used to go to watch with my grandfather and father, is just incredible. Making my debut in the PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup this season has been mad.

“The only downside is that my family haven’t been able to come and watch me play live yet. My dad is an even bigger Scarlets fan than me.”

Born and raised in Nuneaton, Jones was in the Leicester Tigers academy system up to the age of 18 and his father took him to watch the Tigers play the Scarlets as a young boy. He left Tigers when he was 18 and thought that would probably be the end of his professional rugby ambitions.

But then came a call from the Welsh Exiles co-ordinator, Gareth Davies, and his life took a whole new twist. He joined the Scarlets, undertook a degree course in criminology and criminal justice at Swansea University and left the Midlands to live and learn in Llanelli.

“It was a big step to leave home for the first time, but I knew I was going to our family’s spiritual home where my grandfather was born and raised,” said Jones.

“The Scarlets put me up in a house in the town and I got stuck into my three years course at Swansea University. Now I’ve got a degree and I’ve broken into the senior squad.

“It has been a nice compliment to be mentioned along with a number of other young Welsh locks as a potential candidate for higher honours, but for the moment I can only concentrate on trying to earn a starting berth at the Scarlets.

“It was sad news about Jake leaving at the end of the season and being able to train with him has been a blessing for me. He has taught me so much.

“His departure will leave a hole and an opportunity. I just have to do whatever I can to battle with Jac and Josh to prove I am good enough to try to fill it.”

Having grown in stature from 97 to 115 kgs, and 6’4” to 6’7” in the three years he has been at the Scarlets, he is now big enough to plug any hole in the second row that appears in any professional side.

His performances to date have also grown and along with the already capped Adam Beard and Seb Davies, Scarlets teammates Price and Helps, the Ospreys duo of Rhys Davies and Will Griffiths and the Dragons’ Ben Carter, he is now being mentioned in despatches whenever anyone writes about who will be the next in line to pack down in Wales’ second row.

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