Six Nations 2022: Jac Morgan charts the rise of New Wales Cap Jac Morgan

Venue: Principality Stadium in Cardiff Date: Saturday, 12 Februar Kick-off:14:15 GMT
Coverage: You can watch live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer online, starting at 16:00 GMT. Also, listen to BBC Radio 5 live sports extras, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, and BBC Radio Scotland. Text commentary is available on BBC Sport website or app.

Jac Morgan, a New Wales captain, will continue Wales’ open-side flanker conveyor belt in the future when he plays against Scotland in his international debut.

Wayne Pivac, Wales head coach, is currently without British Lions back rowers Justin Tipuric Josh Navidi Taulupe Faletau Dan Lydiate and Josh Navidi.

However, the line of spectacular sevens continues. This time, Morgan is the 1,177th Welshmen's international.

He will be joined by Taine Basham, a 22-year-old from Taine Basham, in the back row in Cardiff alongside Ross Moriarty.

BBC Sport Wales reports on the rise and development of Wales' new foraging flanker.

Small acorns

Morgan, who hails from Brynamman is a fluent Welsh speaker and went to Ysgol Diffryn Ammanford.

Morgan started his career at Cwmtwrch RFC when he was six years old. He played there for about ten years.

Keith Roberts, also known as “Bertie”, was the coach of the Ospreys rising star starting at eight years old.

Roberts said, “You could see there was something special even at an early age.”

“He is the most accurate reader of the game that I have ever coached, and he is extremely level-headed. He was aware of his height when he arrived, but we assured him that he would continue to grow.

“Now he's six-foot tall and has reached the places he desired to be.”

Roberts had already planned to attend Principality Stadium this weekend. Morgan offered his former coach a ticket.

Roberts said, “I'm a very emotional man and I don’t need any more tears.”

“It's a proud moment for both us as a club, and his wonderful family.

“I will be going to the game. It will definitely be an emotional day, particularly the build-up.

“The Cwmtwrch Clubhouse will also be full and there will be a rush for everyone to get back there afterwards.”

A young Jac Morgan with Cwmtwrch coach Bertie Roberts
Jac Morgan as a young person with Cwmtwrch Coach “Bertie” Roberts

Morgan was a junior member of the family of Robert Jones, a former Wales scrum-half captain and Morgan's friend.

Jones said, “I knew Jac since an early age. He played with my son Tiaan in Cwmtwrch at the time and went through all the ages of a small back row.”

“Even though he was young, you could see that he was a gifted and committed individual. He was skilled in tackle technique and had a great handle on the ball.

“His ability to read the game and his leadership was what stood out.”

Morgan joined Amman United youth in 2018. After completing the Six Nations Under-18s, Morgan played a few games for Brynamman.

Andrew Roberts (Brynamman Rotary Club secretary and director) said, “We are overjoyed somebody else from our village will play for Wales.”

“We knew for years that he had the skills and attributes to succeed at the highest level.

It is a great achievement for him as well as the village. On Saturday, we will have a large-screen screen in the club.

“It's going to be our anniversary at the beginning of next year and he will only be the fourth player to win a full Wales cap.

“The others are Jac Evans in 1924 and Denzil Evan in the 1950s.

“We also adopted Shane Williams, a Brynamman boy, because his father is from the village.”

Morgan, a 17-year old, also made plans for a life beyond rugby by enrolling in a course in mechanical engineering apprenticeship.

Morgan was a student in and out the Scarlets academy system. He also signed for Aberavon for 2018 when he was freed to play semi-professionally for the Wizards of the Premiership. This was a great move that helped him kick-start his career.

Jason Hyatt, Aberavon head Coach, said that they sat down and discussed with Jac and his dad what they thought we could do for him to develop and achieve his dream of playing professional rugby.

His attitude was amazing. He joined us in August. I was impressed by that. Jac was 18 at the time we met him. It wasn't about what Aberavon could offer him but what Jac could do for us.

He played over 1,000 minutes of rugby between Christmas and his arrest by Wales Under-20s, which eventually earned him a contract with the Scarlets.

His greatest asset is not only his extraordinary talent but also his ability to bring out the best in everyone around him.

“We'll be overjoyed (when he plays in Wales) and proud that we had a small role in Jac’s growth.”

Jac Morgan celebrates after leading Wales Under-20s to victory over England in 2020
Jac Morgan celebrates leading Wales' Under-20s to victory against England in 2020

Morgan became a major in the age grade rugby game, serving as captain of Wales' Under-18s team and 20s team, which included a historic win over New Zealand.

He worked closely alongside Gareth Williams (ex-Wales Under-20s coach), who is now part Pivac’s backroom senior staff.

Williams said, “He has been knocking on my door for a while. I hope we can see that competitive aspect on the weekend. He is so deserving.”

“He has had to be patient in a competition position, but that's the kind of person he is.

“He is determined to prove people wrong, and has taken on every challenge that has come his way.

“Since coming into the office, he's kept his mind down, worked hard and spoken up when needed.

“He speaks at the right time and has an older head on his young shoulders. He is a great character on the field as well as a brilliant player.

Morgan was once an integral part of the senior team, and he starred for the Scarlets until deciding to move to Ospreys in order to start the 2021-22 season.

After his stellar performances, Morgan attracted Pivac's attention and was called up to the 2022 Six Nations squad. He is now close to his first cap.

Pivac stated, “It just shows what can be done.”

“There are Test matches that can be very weighty, but there is also training and preparation, and he has done everything he was asked to do.

“We look forward to Jac's arrival out there. It will be an amazing opportunity for him, his family.

Jac Morgan will become Wales' second new cap of the 2022 Six Nations tournament following hooker Dewi Lake
Jac Morgan, the second Wales Six Nations Tournament hooker, will replace Dewi Lake.

“He has been putting himself out there and you'll be able to see a huge performance. He won't be lacking effort.

Morgan will take on Hamish Watson, the flanker of the Scottish and Irish Lions in Scotland. He was also named the 2021 Six Nations player-of-the-tournament.

It's a huge challenge, isn’t it? Pivac said.

“Hamish Watson has been a great player for many years and is now at the top of his game.”

Watson is always right there in the middle of a Scotland-Wales match, no matter what team we've put out in the past couple of years.

“It will prove to be a difficult test for Jac but it is one I know both he (and we) are looking forward too.”

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