The battle for his services on the international stage may still be rumbling on, but Scarlets No.8 Ben Morgan says he is only interested in proving his worth in the RaboDirect Pro12.
Born in England but qualified to play for Wales at next year’s RBS 6 Nations Championship through residency, it is clear to see why both Martin Johnson and Warren Gatland have put out feelers to the 22-year-old.
Standing 6ft 3in and weighing 18st 3lb Morgan has the perfect proportions to be an international No.8 and crucially it is his use of that staggering frame, that consistently puts him over the gain line, which makes him such a valuable assett.
But seeing as Morgan refuses to look beyond the next match for the Scarlets, which just so happens to be the region’s 5000th game this weekend against Leinster at Parc y Scarlets, there’s little chance of him pinning his colours to a country’s mast in the near future.
And before he contemplates the challenges of international rugby, Morgan, who forms one of the RaboDirect’s most potent back-rows with Josh Turnbull and Rob McCusker, insists going toe-to-toe with the RaboDirect Pro12’s big guns is his only priority.
He said: “I challenge myself quite a lot through the season. More than anything I love testing myself against other back rows in this league, particularly against the Irish sides who just always seem to have great back rows.
“You look at Munster and they always have a strong side out no matter who they are playing.
“Playing against a Martyn Williams, Sam Warburton or a Xavier Rush that’s a great challenge for me to make my mark.
“Personally I am taking each game as it comes and just trying to improve my performance for each game.
“Josh and Rob are superb players. There are always hungry and it is great to have those boys in the back row alongside me.
“To be honest I don’t know what other sides have to offer in the back row until we play them but I am confident in our ability to stay up as a unit against them.”
Morgan certainly made his mark against the Blues last season. He made his first full start in the capital to help Nigel Davies’ men to a 16-10 victory before bagging his first try at Parc y Scarlets in the final game of last season.
It is easy to forget that Morgan is 22 and has just 25 starts under his belt when he already seems like one of the Scarlets’ senior players.
Amongst the team that started in the 35-12 RaboDirect Pro12 defeat to champions Munster at the weekend were 19-year-old full-back Dale Ford, but Morgan is adamant that age counts for nothing in Nigel Davies’ set-up.
He added: “When I came into the side for the first time, I did not feel like the baby of the group.
“There are a lot of guys coming through the academy all the time which is really healthy for the club.
“But we don’t look at a player and think he’s only 18 or 19 – your performance is the only thing you are judged on.
“I think the expectation level as a team have risen a lot in recent years so it does not matter who is starting, you have to prove your worth.”