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Jac Morgan

Jac Morgan and Sam Parry during training

Morgan relishing hard work in Fiesch

In the summer of 2019, Jac Morgan was helping Wales beat New Zealand in the U20 World Rugby Championship in Argentina.

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Four years on, he is one of eight players from that side currently pushing to be included in the Wales senior squad for the World Cup in France later this year. Joining him in that quest at the two-week long training camp in the Swiss Alps are Max Llewellyn, Rio Dyer, Cai Evans, Sam Costelow, Kemsley Mathias, Dewi Lake and Tommy Reffell.

Morgan, Reffell, Costelow, Lake and Dyer have already won senior caps, but the prize this year is even greater – the chance to play at a World Cup. Wales meet Fiji, Portugal, Australia and Georgia in Pool C in France in September and October and Morgan wants to be there.

“It is probably the hardest I have been trained and put through my paces. It’s probably the best I have felt as well,” said Morgan, speaking from pitchside in Fiesch.

“The feeling after training, knowing how hard you have worked, is very good. Just being among the boys after training that hard is a great feeling. It feels like we’re getting ready for something big. Everybody is working hard knowing that the World Cup is around the corner.

“The competition is great. They are a great bunch of boys, and we’re always trying to get the best out of each other.

jac Morgan

Jac Morgan, Sam Parry and Rhys Davies during training

“Everybody has their strengths and things to work on, and everybody works hard together trying to improve. That’s what is so good about the squad, especially the competition – we’re all trying to get the best out of each other.

“I’m really enjoying it. I’ve got a bit of a tan, although I’m trying my best not to burn out here. It’s a tough environment with the altitude, something different and something I’ve not done before.”

Twice daily sessions in the first week have already been completed this week and the workload is set to rise even higher as the camp reaches its second week. That is going to test the players even more as they work towards their three Vodafone Summer Series games against England (twice) and South Africa, next month.

Before then they will be heading to Turkey for a second training camp, by which time the 48-man squad will have been trimmed down.

“Every session has been tough in its own way. It’s just hard being up in the altitude and adapting to training in this environment,” added Morgan. “We give the training sessions a rating from 1-10 in terms of hardness. There have been a couple of 10s already.

“Maybe they will see it is a good thing they are pushing the boys to the maximum. It’s all about driving standards, maxing out in every session and trying to get fitter and better every time.

“There are loads of leaders within the group in different aspects and positions. Everybody drives each other on and we bounce off each other’s energy.

“I’m never thinking ‘I wish I could stop’. What’s nice is when you look around everybody is suffering, maxed out, giving 100% – you aren’t on your own when you are blowing.

“You know you are going to reap the rewards in the long run and get the benefits from it. As long as you work hard now you look around everybody working hard and know you are going to get the benefits and reap the rewards.

Jac Morgan

Jac Morgan travels down the mountain in the cable car.

“A lot of this will test us mentally as we learn how much we can dig in and how hard we can work for each other.”

With nine caps already in his locker, the Ospreys back row man knows he is in a battle for a place in the final 33-man squad for France. Warren Gatland has nine back row forwards fighting for a golden ticket – Morgan, Reffell, Taine Basham, Dan Lydiate, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Davies, Christian Tshiunza, Taine Plumtree and Aaron Wainwright.

His name, as a former Wales U20 captain, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the captaincy. Tommy Reffell and Dewi Lake are other former U20 skippers, while Dan Biggar (eight times), Faletau (once) and Lydiate (three times) have previous captaincy experience of the senior side.

“I haven’t even thought about that at all, I’ve just been concentrating on the training and the rugby. There are plenty of leaders here who can do a job, everybody speaks and motivates each other.”
Back in 2019, Morgan was only a semi-pro player, combining his work as a mechanical engineering apprentice with playing for Aberavon in the Indigo Premiership. He eventually joined the Scarlets before moving on to the Ospreys.

Last summer he was left out of the Wales squad that Wayne Pivac took to South Africa for the three Test series, but battled his way back into the side last autumn, scoring a brace of tries against both Australia and Georgia, before playing in three games in the Six Nations earlier this year.

“I was with Wales U20 in Argentina the last time the World Cup was played. I was still working back then, so I never would have thought I’d be here now,” he added.

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