Wales target Ben Morgan spurns England Saxons bid

Ben Morgan
Number eight Ben Morgan signed for the Scarlets in 2009

Scarlets boss Nigel Davies has revealed that number eight Ben Morgan turned down the chance to play for England Saxons in the Churchill Cup.

Had he done so, Bristol-born Morgan, 22, would not be allowed to opt for Wales when he qualifies on residency ahead of the 2012 Six Nations.

Davies said: "They certainly wanted to involve him in the Saxons games.

"Ben was very mature about the decision [to say no] on a number of fronts."

England Saxons - their national second team - are currently involved in the annual Churchill Cup tournament.

Anyone playing for a designated international second-string side is then committed to that nation for life under International Rugby Board rules.

Morgan played for Cardiff Blues Under-20 and Merthyr RFC before joining the Scarlets in 2009.

He deputised for David Lyons while the Australian was injured last season and his performances established him as one of the hottest young properties in Welsh rugby.

But Morgan's background left Wales coach Warren Gatland hoping Morgan will one day don the red jersey having established his credentials at Parc y Scarlets.

Morgan has admitted being flattered by Wales' interest, but has remained coy on the dilemma facing him.

Davies believes Morgan has that potential, but says notwithstanding the Wales-England tug-of-war for his services, the player needs a full pre-season's training to enhance his chances of playing Test rugby.

"Firstly he felt that he didn't need to lock himself in to any international rugby at this stage," said Davies.

"He needs another good pre-season in order to give himself the best opportunity to springboard into international rugby whether that be with England or Wales."

"But really, regardless of his form at the moment, for him to play international rugby he's going to have to be playing well at the start of next season and by having a good pre-season with us rather than going to play for the Saxons he's going to give himself the best chance to do that.

"If he carries on his good form he has got every chance [of playing for England or Wales].

"He's had a great season for us, but that's been based on the back of him coming from no conditioning standards at all, no real rugby background - so the last two seasons have been big in terms of his development.

"And another pre-season would really put him in the international picture.

"Where that is will depend on where his opportunities lie and ultimately, if he does promote himself down that road, it's going to be a decision that he's going to have to take."