x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Morgan happy to be target man for England in Six Nations showdown

Two years ago it was revealed that Wales had targeted Ben Morgan just three caps into his Test career and the bulldozing Gloucester forward is happy should that policy continue ahead of Sunday's clash at Twickenham.

Ben Morgan catches the ball during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on March 7, 2014 in Bagshot, England. David Rogers/Getty Images
Ben Morgan catches the ball during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on March 7, 2014 in Bagshot, England. David Rogers/Getty Images

England number eight Ben Morgan has warned Wales they target him at their peril in Sunday’s potentially-epic Six Nations title showdown at Twickenham.

Dylan Hartley stated this week that the Red Rose single out opposition “talismen” for special attention, name-checking back row ball-carriers such as Louis Picamoles, Jamie Heaslip and Toby Faletau.

Two years ago it was revealed that Wales had targeted Morgan just three caps into his Test career and the bulldozing Gloucester forward is happy should that policy continue.

“It’s a compliment if people start targeting you because it means you are doing something right, so I’m pleased if I was targeted,” he said.

“I don’t feel that sort of pressure - when you break rugby down it’s a simple game, particularly in my sort of role.

“I try to get the team over the gain line and if I can do that then great.

“If people are trying to make it harder for me by putting two or three people to tackle me, the spaces are going to open up for the rest of my team to attack elsewhere.

“It’s nothing that worries me. If anybody focuses on one or two players they miss the rest of the team.

“It’s not something to worry about - you have to stick to your team structures.”

Morgan has braced England for the usual power-based game from Wales - more commonly known as ‘Warrenball’ after their head coach Warren Gatland - and insists their route one approach must be met head on.

“Wales have a handful of players they use to get over the gain line,” he said.

“They use the likes of Jamie Roberts, Richard Hibbard and Toby Faletau. They are all big men and that is the way they like play.

“If you look at their team from one to 15 they are all big men and all about getting over the gain line.

“We can’t let them do that because that is when they start to hurt you.”

England must defeat Wales if they are to remain in title contention heading into the final Saturday, when they face Italy in Rome.

Five weeks ago their hopes of winning a first Six Nations championship under head coach Stuart Lancaster were battered by a 26-24 loss in Paris.

Since then they have pieced together impressive wins against Scotland and Ireland to rekindle hopes of seizing Wales’ crown.

“The way things have been going, this team has shown a lot of character and we have shown that we can play and score tries,” Morgan said.

“We have just got to keep progressing and take our form straight into this Welsh game.”

Morgan is looking forward to the back row battle against Wales’ all-British and Irish Lions trio of Faletau, Dan Lydiate and Sam Warburton.

“Toby has a big physical presence, likes to get his hands on the ball, and it is one of those head to heads that you want to win,” Morgan said.

“Lydiate and Warburton complement each other pretty well.

“Lydiate likes to chop people pretty low and Warburton is very quick and very strong over the ball. That works pretty well. Toby is the ball carrier out of the bunch.”

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