Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan chooses England

Ben Morgan
Ben Morgan has impressed at number eight for the Scarlets

Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan has decided his international future lies with England despite being poised to qualify for Wales on residency grounds.

The Bristol-born 22-year-old admits he has had to think "long and hard" before reaching his decision.

"I feel privileged and honoured that both Wales and England have been following me," Morgan said.

"But I'm English, I grew up supporting England and as a youngster I always dreamt of playing for England one day."

Morgan started his career at Dursley RFC in Gloucestershire before moving across the border to play for Merthyr Tydfil in the 2008/9 season.

The 6ft 3in powerhouse also played for Cardiff Blues Under-20s during that season before signing for the Scarlets, where he has a contract until the end of 2012/13.

"It has taken me a while to think over and discuss with my family before I came to the decision of where I'd like to focus my ambitions for the future," Morgan added.

"Ultimately, if given the opportunity at international level, I want to try and take things forward with my home country.

"It's not about where I see myself in any squad but about putting my name forward and keeping my head down and playing.

"If I am lucky to be named in any England squad then fantastic, but if not then I will knuckle down and work hard to get myself in a position where I will be.

"Right now it's about focusing on my rugby here and putting my all into my Scarlets performances with some big league and European fixtures ahead of us this month."

Morgan has previously turned down the opportunity to play for England Saxons in the Churchill Cup, which would have ruled out any chance of playing for Wales after completing three years' residency.

However, he has now committed himself to a future with England but must wait to see if he gets the call from the Red Rose management team.

Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies said: "While we've known interest has been shown in Ben by Wales as well as England following a run of strong and eye-catching performances for us, it's a personal decision.

"Nobody can question Ben for setting his sights on the pride and dream of playing for his home country of England.

"He has progressed well, worked hard and shown great commitment and determination to take his rugby career forward and has become a big and influential part of our forwards play.

"We fully support him on his decision and if he makes it into the England squad in the future he will have our complete backing, as do all our current internationals when they play for their country."