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Morgan: We imposed our game on Wales

10 March 2014

  • No.8 delighted with Triple Crown
  • “It’s a fixture that has hurt us” – Morgan
Ben Morgan

Photo: Getty Images

Ben Morgan was delighted with the comprehensive manner in which England brushed aside Wales 29-18 yesterday and called for a similar performance to finish the RBS 6 Nations campaign against Italy on Saturday.

Stuart Lancaster’s charges exorcised the demons of their 30-3 defeat in Cardiff a year ago, clinching a fairly comfortable victory on the back of first-half tries from Danny Care and Luther Burrell.

Having won a first Triple Crown since 2003, they now travel to Rome with their Championship hopes still alive and Morgan admitted that a fourth consecutive defeat to Wales would have been a huge set-back.

“It’s a fixture that has hurt us over the previous two years so it was vitally important for us today,” said the No.8, who made 15 tackles and 10 carries in the absence of Billy Vunipola.

“We weren’t talking revenge but that was an extra driver. It’s about momentum with this team and we’ve been building all the time.

“It was a big win because it puts to bed any sort of doubt. We felt totally confident today – we had a mission and we implemented it really well from the first minute. We wanted to play with quick tempo and that was shown when Danny Care went over for that try straight away.”

Indeed, Care’s opportunistic score epitomised England’s ambition in attack – the hosts racked up a total of 10 beaten defenders, 24 offloads and six clean-breaks between them.

Ben Morgan closes in on Rhys Priestland

Photo: Getty Images

However, opposite an outfit renowned for an uncompromising approach, destructive defence was another significant factor.

As Morgan looked back in finer detail – sparing special praise for the “fantastic” Owen Farrell after a superb, seven-from-seven goal-kicking return – he touched on the collective industry of Graham Rowntree’s pack.

“If you look at [the Wales] squad, it is full of great players and big men who can get over the gainline,” added the Gloucester Rugby man. “Our defence was able to target that and get in some two-man hits.

“Obviously we were able to make them spill the ball at times at crucial times, which relieved a great deal of pressure. Defence is something we pride ourselves on and we try to turn it into attack so that we get our hands on the ball more.”

“We also talk about our carrying game and having forwards coming around the corner – I think we were able to do that today. The lineout functioned particularly well and we disrupted their ball, too. For the most part our scrum was on top as well.

“Not allowing them to score a try was superb. We gave away a few soft penalties which we’ll need to look at in the week because we can’t afford to do that.”

Ben Morgan carries

Photo: Getty Images

With a vastly inferior points difference to Ireland, only a triumph over Italy by around 60 points will keep England in the hunt for the Championship – unless Joe Schmidt’s men slip up against France in Paris. A France win would also see them finish on four victories, but only a big margin would see Les Blues overhaul England at the top.

Even so, Morgan warned that a reckless approach would be dangerous and said focus on calm cohesion would be the order of the day.

“Our attitude won’t change,” he said. “We need to go out there and impose ourselves on Italy. That won’t be easy by any means – they’ve got some very good players and it’s an away game as well.

“We’ve got to go there with a winning mentality then once we start imposing ourselves on them, we will think about scoring as many points as we can.”