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VIDEO – Ben Morgan on the challenge of the Stade de France and going back to the West Country

07 March 2012

  • No.8 not perturbed by prospect of facing Harinordoquy at the Stade de France
  • "I feel confident because of the environment we are creating here" – Morgan

Ben Morgan says he will approach the daunting challenge of France No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy with confidence because England’s culture of playing for each other has allowed him to make an immediate impact in Test rugby.

The Scarlets No.8, who will join Gloucester Rugby at the end of this season, impressed in producing valuable go-forward ball as a replacement against Scotland and Italy before making his first start in the narrow defeat to Wales at Twickenham.

England now travel to the Stade de France – where the home side are unbeaten in 10 matches – with many inexperienced internationals matching-up to seasoned Test operators in key positions.

On a potential contest with 80-Test veteran Harinordoquy, the 23 year-old said: “It’s massive as he’s a superb player but already I’ve played against some quality players in the three other teams. It’s going to be a challenge but it’s one I’m looking forward to.

“I feel confident and I think that’s to do with the environment that we’re creating here. We’ve got a great set of lads around that make you want to play for each other and I think that brings the best out of everybody.”

Morgan did not see France labour to a 17-17 draw with Ireland last Sunday but appreciates that it will be different game when England arrive in Paris, given the intense historical rivalry between the two nations.

The former Dursley and Cinderford man says England have primarily focussed on themselves but added: “They are always a hard team to beat, especially in Paris.

“It will be a hard challenge, but one we will certainly be ready for. They are still unbeaten and these sorts of games are always extremely intense because everyone is putting their best in.

“We have been building towards this for a while now and are really excited about being out there.”

Ben Morgan looks to offload in training at Pennyhill Park

Photo: Getty Images

Continuing to discuss his return to England from Llanelli, Morgan thanked his current employers for their help in his development before explaining his delight at the chance to play Aviva Premiership rugby.

“For a start, I’d like to say how grateful I am to the Scarlets for all they have done for me but I think that looking to the future, coming back home to Gloucester is the right move for me,” he went on.

“It’ll be nice to be able to catch up with friends a bit more and be closer to family too.”

Admitting to pestering future club mate Charlie Sharples for details about life at Kingsholm, Morgan finished by proudly outlining his West Country roots.

“I’m just obviously keen to find out what it is like from a player’s perspective,” he smiled. “I’ve known the club for a long time as a supporter – I used to watch matches there as a youngster – but you can get a real insight from behind the scenes if you talk to current players.

“[The move] is really exciting. The team is looking pretty special and they will be keen to throw the ball around, I’m sure."