Coach hails ‘phenomenal’ Wales captain Jac Morgan
Captain Jac Morgan has been described as “phenomenal” following an immense contribution towards steering Wales into the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
The 23-year-old flanker has proved Wales’ stand-out performer in the tournament, inspiring pivotal Pool C victories over Fiji and Australia.
Morgan’s level of leadership and all-round game defies a relative lack of experience on the Test-match stage that has seen him win 14 caps and captain Wales only four times.
But his efforts have gained comparison with former Wales and British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton, who oversaw a World Cup semi-final appearance at the age of 22 in 2011.
Wales have already confirmed a quarter-final spot this time around, and they are guaranteed to finish top of their group if they beat Georgia in Nantes next week.
That would then set up a potential last-eight appointment with Argentina seven days later, with Wales having reached the knockout phase under head coach Warren Gatland for a fourth successive World Cup campaign.
“Jac is phenomenal,” Wales assistant coach and forwards specialist Jonathan Humphreys said.
“He is one of these guys where nothing fazes him. He is just the same kid all the way through the week, then two minutes before the game, just the same kid.
“He is brave, and he has such an impact on the game, such an impact on the group.
“Captaincy has not changed him one iota. He is a huge figure for us, and we are blessed in that (number seven) department with Tommy (Reffell), who is back fit now, and Taine (Basham).”
Morgan was appointed co-captain for the World Cup with hooker Dewi Lake, and Gatland said: “He is growing into this role. He is still a young man, and I threw him in at the deep end.
“He has been absolutely outstanding, and I have a huge amount of admiration for him.
“He is definitely a player who leads from the front. I thought he was outstanding (against Australia), and he did exactly that. It was a brilliant performance from him.”
Wales are preparing for a training ground return following a few days’ break after their record 40-6 win against Australia in Lyon that left the Wallabies close to pool-stage elimination.
They will reassemble at their Versailles base, from where preparations will begin for Georgia.
Wales full-back Liam Williams said: “To win by 34 points (margin) against Australia at a Rugby World Cup is a dream. On to the next game now.
“Our pack was outstanding (against Australia). They got us on the front foot, and there was nothing more you could ask from a pack of forwards.
“As the head coach said, it is about being a hard team to beat, and that is what we are being at the moment.”
And lock Will Rowlands added: “It is not always the most flashy rugby, but for us it was so satisfying.
“We put pressure on them (Australia) – good scrum, good maul and got the points and went again.
“We are really pleased with how the three games have gone. Now everyone is switched on and focused on doing a job on Georgia so we can top the pool.”
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