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Ben Morgan is only 29 but he has already been made redundant, won 31 caps for his country and started his own business.
On the pitch, it has been a frustrating campaign for the back-row with injuries hampering the first half of the season but off the pitch he is thriving, with a new business venture really kicking off.
A leap into the unknown
Morgan is used to making headlines on the pitch but it is his new scaffolding business which has attracted column inches in the last few months.
Along with investor Gerry Veal and his father Steve Morgan, Ben formed the well-named No8 Scaffolding last summer, providing scaffolding to domestic and small commercial clients in the Gloucestershire area.
With an eye for business, Morgan jumped right in and says that, while it has been stressful at times, he is relishing the challenge.
“As it turned out, it was the perfect time to launch it because I was injured so I have been able to focus a lot of effort into it.
“Rugby is still my main goal and focus but the RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) have always said we need to think about what we want to do when we retire and for me this has always been in my mind.
“My dad is very entrepreneurial so I have grown up around it and, although it is a little scary, I was not daunted by it - I really enjoy it.
“We just provide scaffolding, help with renovating, decorating, anything at all. I don’t get my hands dirty myself, I enjoy the management side of it.
“It was a baptism of fire because it is the first time I have done anything quite like this. I have done some property development on the side, buying them and renovating them, but that was always a bit of a side thing more than this.
“I am a rugby player and that is my career and it’s what I am dedicated to but it is not everything in my life and I think having other avenues is a good thing.”
‘Redundancy worked out really well’
Unlike most rugby players, Morgan was not focused on making it as a professional when he was young. Instead he left school at 16 and became a part-time plumber.
Like many, he was hit hard by the 2008 recession which left many unemployed. But the credit crunch worked wonders.
“I left school when I was 16 and I did not have many qualifications. I was not picked up by a rugby club straight away and I needed to go do something,” he said.
“I became a plumber and worked part-time. I liked it and worked hard at it, and it worked out on the field too because it allowed me to also focus a lot onto that.
“I was made redundant just as the recession hit but the timing was perfect in many ways because it came exactly at the time I was offered a contract by Scarlets.
“On one hand, I was devastated because all that hard work over two years to become a plumber had gone to waste, but then came this massive high that I was about to get a chance in rugby – it was an odd time but it worked out really well.”
It has been a frustrating season for Morgan. Injuries meant he made just four appearances before Christmas and it took him almost two years to get over the broken ankle which kept him out of the 2015 Six Nations.
At Gloucester, he has also had to contend with the next generation of back-row players, led by Italy international Jake Polledri and November’s Premiership player of the month Ruan Ackermann.
But Morgan is becoming a feature of the side again and has a European title in his sight ahead of next week’s semi-final clash with Newcastle Falcons.
“We have some exciting young back-rows that have really come on this year but for me that just makes me push harder,” Morgan said.
“Jake Polledri has made a big impact and it was great to see him get an Italy call-up, while Ruan has been outstanding.
“I have not played as much as I would have liked but injuries have played a part. But it makes me push harder and when I get a go I know I have got to hit the mark each time.
“The strength in depth we have is huge and everyone has to take their chance when they get a game. If not, you know you won’t play – it’s as simple as that.
“I like the pressure, I thrive under it. Now it’s about showing what I can do."