Shingler eyes Morgan match-up
February 12, 2012
Aaron Shingler made his Test bow against Scotland © Getty Images
Wales flanker Aaron Shingler already has his eyes set on a potential clash with Scarlets' team-mate Ben Morgan when Warren Gatland's charges travel to Twickenham in a fortnight to face England.
Shingler shone on his Test debut in Wales' 27-13 RBS 6 Nations victory over Scotland today after being drafted into the team as replacement for injured captain Sam Warburton. Shingler, a 24-year-old former Glamorgan cricketer, had huge boots to fill at openside flanker, but he rose to the challenge as Wales moved top of the championship table.
And while Warburton is expected to return for the England clash on February 25, Shingler's performance was such that it would be no surprise if he retained a place in Wales' matchday 22. And that might mean an opportunity to tackle Scarlets number eight Morgan, who has impressed on two outings off the bench for England against Scotland and Italy.
"I've had plenty of contact with Ben," Shingler said. "Whether I will get a chance to play against Ben, who knows? But I would love the chance to play against him.
"Ben is a superb player, and he is certainly in a bit of form at the moment."
Hampshire-born Shingler was told yesterday he would be playing against Scotland, although he had trained as Wales' number seven throughout the week. And it means he won a Test cap before his brother Steven, who was named in Scotland's Six Nations training squad last month, qualifying through his Dumfries-born mother.
Having played for Wales Under-20s, though, the Welsh Rugby Union contested London Irish centre Shingler's call-up, and a final decision on his eligibility is expected soon.
"It would have been great had Steve been involved today, but it was not to be," Shingler added. "I think he has got a hearing at the end of this month, and good luck to him."
On his cricketing past, Shingler said: "I was with Glamorgan for a few seasons, but then I decided to play a bit of rugby. I would have gone back to cricket, but the rugby went well, and here I am today. I keep in contact with one or of the Glamorgan boys, and I've had a few messages.
"To come in after a great win in Dublin last week, it is just great to be involved with this team. Sam is a great player and captain of the side. I don't think I will take his place! Whether there will be an oportunity to play elsewhere, we will see.
"I've just had a big smile on my face. I called my girlfriend and then texted my parents when I found out I would be playing. They were all here today. I will have one or two beers to celebrate my first cap, but I won't be getting carried away."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'