RUGBY UNION: On-loan Morris bidding to make an impression

The Oxford Times: London Welsh’s Nathan Morris London Welsh’s Nathan Morris

Nathan Morris has a double reason for wanting to succeed at London Welsh.

The ex-England Under 20 hooker is on a season-long loan with the Exiles from Premiership club Wasps, who are monitoring his progress closely.

Helping Welsh secure promotion back to the top flight would be a big tick on Morris’s CV and do him no harm in the eyes of his parent club.

“At the end of the day, I am a 20-year-old hooker, learning my trade,” said Morris, who is on the bench against London Scottish in the British & Irish Cup today.

“I just want to be playing and being at London Welsh is really helping me.

“I am happy with my form, but I want to be more consistent.

“It is no good putting in a world-class performance one match and just an acceptable one the next.

“I am happy that the foundations of my game and the set pieces are getting into place.”

Wasps Academy manager and ex-Welsh forwards coach Matt Davies checks up regularly on Morris and fellow loanee, prop Alec Hepburn.

Ultimately Morris would like to become a Premiership regular, but believes being part of a promotion-chasing Exiles squad is doing him no harm.

And a long-term injury to Welsh’s former England hooker Andy Titterell has meant Morris perhaps playing more than was expected.

“When you come into pre-season late as a loan player, it takes a little bit longer to get up to speed,” he said.

“Andy has been an inspiration and helped me a lot.

“There is still a lot of competition with Nathan Vella having joined us as well.

“It is good to have that every day in training and it is making me a better player.”

Morris added: “I think the Championship is tougher than the Premiership because each week is a completely different game.

“Teams play in such different styles.”

Morris turns 21 in March, but has already enjoyed an itinerant career.

“I was with London Welsh two years ago when they were in the Championship before,” he said.

“I went back to Wasps last season to be third-choice hooker, but the two other hookers were absolute stalwarts and didn’t get injured, so I struggled for game time.”

That led to a short loan spell at Henley Hawks, where he and current Welsh fly half Will Robinson helped them win National 2 South.

Morris is relishing today’s crunch B&I Cup clash with Scottish, who have beaten Welsh twice this season.

“It is a big local derby and we want to get one back on them,” he said.

“They are really well drilled and know their patterns well.

“We have got to get ours right to defeat them.

“It will be really good if we can get through.

“Coming from the doldrums after losing the first two matches would be a really good team effort.”

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