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Morris excited for future

We caught up with Nathan Morris today as he prepares to set off to France with the England U20s squad for the Junior World Championships.

It is an exciting time for Morris who has recently signed a new contract extension at London Wasps.

Having progressed through the England U16 and U18 age groups, Morris will now be representing England U20s in his second Junior World Championship having been part of last year’s squad as well as being part of the England U20s squad who successfully won the Six Nations earlier this year.

Morris says he will be taking this tournament one step at a time.

“I am really excited. It is my second World Cup so I know a little bit of what to expect, so I just can’t wait to get out there and crack on with the first game and get the process going. We are really only looking at one game at a time and our first game is France - France in France! So we really can’t look any further than that! We have France, South Africa and USA in that order so it is a pretty tough ask but if you want to win, you have to beat the five best teams anyway so we’ll start at the beginning and work one at a time.”

Morris makes it clear that although the games themselves will be tough, the four day turnaround will be even tougher.

“We have a game, three days off and then the next game so it is all about performance. We will have a recovery day, a small session, a team run and then we play again. So it really is play, play, play. We finished the season on May 5, so we had two weeks of ‘individual prep’, followed by a trial game against Saracens Academy two weeks ago and then we had a camp last week up in St. Georges. Now I'm obviously back down for the last week so some of us will have down time and chill and some of us will keep cracking on to try and continue raising our individual levels.”

The USA have qualified for this tournament for the first time in five years and England will play them in their third game, but Morris says they are not a side to be underestimated.

“The USA have just been promoted from the World Trophy but they are developing really well. They are one of those core nations that have all of the resources and the skill set so when it all comes together they will do very well and have the potential to do some damage! Surprisingly enough I grew up with one or two of their players in Cumbria so it will be really nice to run out against them! I am really looking forward to it.”

Fellow Wasps team mate and housemate Alec Hepburn has also been selected in the England U20s Squad.

“I’m so sick of him, I really am! No it is really good, we do bounce off each other and try to push each other more, and it’s also good to have him around for the individual preparation. When you are competing against somebody pretty similar to you – similar position, similar kind of status - it does encourage you to try and get one up on each other especially for bragging rights around the house!”

Having signed a new deal with Wasps and with Dai Young keen to ensure that Morris works with a loan Club this season to get maximum game time, the young hooker has a number of aims and expectations for the new season.

“I think skill wise it is all about continuously developing but in order to get that push you need to be playing week in week out, especially as a young front rower where game time is the most important thing. Wherever I go I’ll give it my best and aim to get as many minutes under my belt and then when I have enough minutes under my belt and feel like I can really bring something to the squad I’d like to come back to Wasps and hopefully push for a place in the team.”

A number of Wasps youngsters have made encouraging progress over the last year and this is a huge incentive for developing players like Morris.

“There is a great young core group at Wasps and I have worked through the England set-up with most of them for example Elliot Daly and Sam Jones. To see them go on to bigger and better things is obviously a big push for me to get involved as much as I can. Obviously with Elliot and Sam off with the Barbarians, Launchers (Joe Launchbury) and Wadey (Christian Wade) with England and then my housemate Billy, who I played with last year in the Junior World Cup, getting his first senior call-up has really given me a massive drive and reinvigorates my faith in the relevant pathways.”

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