Too small for Rugby. Can’t tackle effectively. Considered to be a half back not a winger.
These are statements currently applied to Matthew Morgan, but they were said about Shane Williams at the beginning of his career.
We know how it went with Shane Williams, 87 international Caps for Wales, 4 for the Lions, leading try scorer for Wales, third most international trys scored, 2008 IRB player of the year, 123 tries, two drop goals, one conversion, one MBE in 2012.
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He even got to a World Cup semi-final and at the end of his career before making a lucrative transition to Japan as a player-coach, spurning big money team Toulon in the process.
All from a man who was consider too small for Rugby and out of position on the wing.
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Matthew Morgan stands at 5’8 and weighs 73 kg, an inch taller and 7 kg lighter than Williams. He has mostly played fly-half at club level and has been used as a fullback for Wales. He and Williams share one key trait, they can make a break from nothing.
Morgan has other similarities to his former team mate, they are both elusive, they have both played at halfback, they both work hard in defense dispute their size disadvantage, and they both have a brutal turn of speed.
Against Fiji, Morgan was a key player in getting Wales attacking dynamically. From fullback he seemed to break the line at will, popping up occasionally at first receiver or on the wing to give the Fijian defence a head ache.
However with Liam Williams' return to fitness, Morgan may well be relegated to the bench against Australia and for the rest of the World Cup. Now Morgan is never going to replace Williams at fullback, but he could replace Cuthbert on the wing.
Cuthbert has had a very poor return to international rugby and is only in the starting side by dint of the high number of injuries. He’s looked inaccurate, over eager and lazy in defence. Typified by not challenging for two high balls sent his way against Fiji and then not working hard enough to tackle them, putting Wales in danger that Morgan helped solve.
Between a big winger who won’t tackle and a small winger who will tackle and can also create chances instead of simply being a finisher… I’d pick the small wing every time. It was proved by Akihito Yamada against Samoa that a small man can beat a big one. Morgan showed the same against Fiji.
I think Morgan has it in him to be an outstanding winger. He could do the same job as Shane Williams, spotting mismatches and popping up to make breaks.
Wales need to take a leaf out of Australia’s book and use more creative players in the back line.
Ideal Wales 23
1. G. Jenkins 2. K. Owens 3. T. Francis
4. L. Charteris 5. A. Wyn Jones
6. S. Warburton 8. T. Faletau 7. J. Tipuric
9. G. Davies 10. D. Biggar
11. G. North 12. J. Roberts 13. J. Hook 14. M. Morgan
15. L. Williams
Bench- 16. S. Baldwin 17. P. James 18. S. Lee 19. B. Davies 20. D. Lydiate 21. LL. Williams 22. R. Priestland 23. T.Morgan
I believe this is the best team Wales can put out with their squad. I wouldn’t mind seeing Lloyd Williams given a go at wing if Matthew Morgan isn’t as he too is quick, happy to tackle and has footballing skills.
James Hook would make a good outside-centre against Australia because he can act as a foil for Dan Biggar. Hook is both a running risk, an excellent link player and has a howitzer of a boot if Biggar needs him to kick. I feel he is more proven than young Tyler Morgan who struggled at times against Fiji.