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Page last updated at 07:25 GMT, Friday, 3 December 2010

Scarlets' Ben Morgan up to Wales mark - David Lyons

Ben Morgan
Bristol-born Morgan qualifies for Wales in January 2012

Young Scarlets back-rower Ben Morgan has what it takes to make the grade with Wales, says team-mate and former Australia number eight David Lyons.

"[Playing for Wales is] up to him really, he's got the potential to go all the way," Lyons told BBC Sport.

Bristol-born 21-year-old Morgan, who qualifies for Wales by residency in January 2012, joined the Scarlets from Merthyr at the start of last season.

He shone for the Scarlets in November with Lyons out with a shoulder injury.

The former Wallaby returned at eight with Morgan moving to blind-side for the 27 November 17-34 Magners League victory over Aironi that catapulted the Scarlets to second in the table.

Physically [Morgan's] as good as most people I've played with

David Lyons

Lyons is captain for Friday's visit of Leinster to Parc y Scarlets, with Morgan - October's Premiership player of the month for his outstanding form with Llanelli - on the bench.

"Physically [Morgan's] as good as most people I've played with," said Lyons, whose 43 Australia caps took him to two World Cups.

"He's showed some really good things and there's no doubt he has the ability to play international rugby.

"He came here a couple of years ago and was very raw, but he's worked really hard and that's great credit to him.

"There are not many better ball carriers around Wales that I've seen.

"There are a couple of little things to learn, but that's up to him and at the rate he's improved in the last couple of years there's no reason why he won't.

"His raw power and energy are up there with some of the best and when he really harnesses that we can expect really big things from him."

David Lyons is a fantastic player... but ultimately I want to keep hold of the Scarlets number eight shirt

Ben Morgan

Morgan, a product of the youth system at Dursley Rugby Club, says he respects Lyons, but has also sent a warning to the experienced Wallaby.

"David Lyons is a fantastic player and I'm learning so much from him, week-in, week-out," said the Gloucestershire-raised youngster, who played for the Blues Under-20 as well as Merthyr before his Scarlets move.

"But ultimately I want to keep hold of the Scarlets number eight shirt, obviously."

Merthyr-resident Morgan is just one of a host of youngsters that the Scarlets have been forced to blood.

After a difficult season last year, the Llanelli-based region have enjoyed a fine start to 2010/11.

As well as their high-flying Magners League position they are in contention in their Heineken Cup group and they have won their opening two fixtures in the LV= Cup.

"The great thing about our squad at the moment is that it's not about blokes just coming in and filling in," said Lyons.

"You're excited because you know that they're going to do well and add something different to the squad. That's a great feeling to have."


Scarlets ready for Leinster test

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see also
Scarlets 17-17 Leinster
03 Dec 10 |  Scarlets
Scarlets delight at Lyons' return
01 Jul 10 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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