Gloucester face Exeter Chiefs in their ‘rematch’ game at Sandy Park, in the 2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday. Ben Morgan spoke on the challenge of Europe’s tier one competition, and a disappointing England camp for Morgan.
Morgan pleased with Worcester result
Ending another Gallagher Premiership block of fixtures with a strong win over Worcester Ben Morgan was impressed with the performance. He was interviewed by Robert Rees for Last Word on Rugby this week
”We were very pleased. Worcester are a tough outfit to play and we always have tough and physical games against them. The weekend was no different, but we’re delighted to go and win in the fashion that we did.
You have to pay respect to Worcester, they’re a decent outfit and put us under pressure. Down at Exeter we know we have to limit their opportunities which we feel we did pretty well the last time. If we can do that again, limit their opportunities and keep our defence strong and then implement our attacking game we’ll be in good shape.”
Set piece momentum huge moving forwards
Five of the six tries against Worcester had the driving lineout as a pivotal part of the try and that’s extremely pleasing for the forwards, with Morgan saying, ”There’s always little tweaks you have to make depending on the forwards you’re facing. Some people like to scrummage differently etc. Those sort of minor adjustments get made, but the message we relay to ourselves is we have to keep on doing what we’re doing. It’s going well for us and with the way we’re playing we’re adapting our style which is good and we like to challenge teams and if we can continue to do that then it’ll be great.”
The strong Gloucester back row has been a feature of many discussions, but for Morgan it’s a great challenge to be part of. ”It’s fiercely competitive with the guys that are involved. There’s plenty of top quality players and they everyone is fighting for that spot every week and you can see that in our training sessions.” Said Morgan.
Cherry and Whites must learn from previous Chiefs mistakes
”We’ve got Exeter a few times so it’s good for us to take learnings from the previous games and hopefully improve on our mistakes. They’re a tough team – second in the league – they’re there for a reason. They’re a physical side, they play their style of rugby and they play it very well and it’ll take nothing short of our best performance to get down and there and get things right for the 80 minutes.” The number eight said.
Following on from their last round of Premiership matches Exeter succumbed to their first defeat of the season against Harlequins. Looking at how this can positively help Gloucester Morgan said, ”It proves that they’ve shown a way that they can be broken down and then it’s up to us to sort that out and deliver the way we want to play. We believe we can do that and it’s important we do that for the full 80 minutes.”
The double header against the Chiefs will be vital in their qualification from the group stages. Looking ahead to the fixtures he said, ”Absolutely, it’s a tough competition and they are tough teams that you play against. It’s an opportunity for us to go down there this weekend and having the return weekend straight away.”
Morgan praises Gloucester’s return to Champions Cup rugby
Having not played in the tier one competition for several years the club finally made it back following last season’s Challenge Cup defeat to the Cardiff Blues in Bilbao. Morgan praised the competition saying, ”It’s great. It’s the competition that everyone wants to be in as you play the best teams in Europe. As a player you want to test yourself against the best players and the best teams and that’s where being in that competition allows you to do that. It’s great for the club.”
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Here is the Gloucester Rugby team for @ChampionsCup R3 at Sandy Park
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) December 7, 2018
Disappointing England camp for Morgan following injury
Looking back at his time in the England camp over the autumn Morgan said he was disappointed to have come out as early as he did due to injury saying, ”Unfortunately it didn’t go as well as I’d have hoped. I came back home a bit sooner than I thought after picking up a little niggle, but I’ve got back in the fold here and I’m getting games under my belt so I’m felling good.”
With England duty over until February – when the 2019 Six Nations will start – Morgan insists his thoughts are primarily and solely on getting Gloucester game time and making his form the best it can be for the club.
Saying, ”It was just good to get involved and to see what sort of things they expect from you as a player. I’m not looking too far into England.
“It’s about putting down solid performances for Gloucester and that’s the most important thing.”
Morgan concluded, “for us, particularly as back rowers we’ve got an important job going down there we’ve got to be physical and we’ve got to be energetic around the park.”
Exeter Chiefs v Gloucester Rugby – Saturday December 8, Sandy Park
2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup, Round Three
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