Rugby: Morgan ready for Springboks

Ben Morgan is back in the England side and ready to hit South Africa where it hurts on Saturday - on the gain-line.

Rugby News: Ben Morgan, England

Morgan made an immediate impact for England during the RBS 6 Nations as a rampaging ball carrier but he lost his place to Thomas Waldrom on the summer tour of South Africa.

The England management believe Morgan can be an enforcer for them at number eight - dynamic in the loose, powerful with ball in hand around the fringes and destructive in defence.

Waldrom may be unfortunate to have been dropped following his performance against Australia last week, but for all his footballing qualities, he does not "smash opponents" in the way England want.

Nor did Morgan, who is something of a late developer having come through the lower leagues, but England head coach Stuart Lancaster believes the potential is there.

Morgan, 23, was given specific instructions to improve that close-quarter contact work this season, which he believes he has done in combination with Gloucester coach Carl Hogg and England's Andy Farrell.

There will be no better time for Morgan to prove he has made the strides demanded of him than on SaturdayF, when England tackle one of the most physical sides in world rugby.

"I have never gone into a tackle with a lack of heart. I have always tried to fly in but I was not doing it right," Morgan said.

"I have been doing a lot of technical drills with Carl Hogg and extra drills here with England.

"For me it is things like getting my feet moving, getting in close and getting some weight behind the tackle instead of planting my feet and making a lunge.

"For a time it was like my head wanted me to do something but my body was not responding.

"But from the start of the Premiership season I feel as if I have been consistently improving.

"We have a tackle clinic at Gloucester where we film things and are able to analyse the footage at the end of a session.

"You know when you make a good hit because you don't seem to put as much effort in. It just seems to happen."

England's point of reference heading into Saturday's showdown is the third Test of the summer tour against South Africa, when they responded to two bruising defeats by confronting the Springboks head on.

That will be the tactic again on Saturday, to meet their heavy ball-carriers on the gain-line and drive them backwards. That is why Morgan's role is so important.

"I was disappointed not to be involved in the last two weeks but my mindset is that you have setbacks along the way and it is how you deal with them," he said.

"Going back to Gloucester has been a great opportunity to get more rugby and more experience.

"I am really grateful to be given another opportunity with England and I am just looking forward to getting stuck into the game. We have got to front up from the first whistle."



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