Oli Morris enjoying first-team action

After breaking into the first-team this season Oli Morris reflects on life in the past few months.

You started the first game of the season, were you expecting that selection?
No, it was a surprise, but a welcome one. It was enjoyable to be a part of a win and a good start to the season for the team and me personally.

You’ve put in some big hits recently, what’s your mindset when you go into those tackles?
I do look for those big hits and I want to make one every game. The aim is always to win the ball back and I enjoy making them. I know that when I see someone make a big tackle it lifts my energy so that’s what I try and do for them team.

My brothers all played rugby and we used to have big hit competitions so I think it stems from that. We’re a very competitive family and were always trying to outdo each other.

The team have been playing with more attacking intent this year, is that the direction from the coaches?
The coaches have given us some freedom to play where the space is. We’re always looking to find space and so far it has resulted in some good attacking play.

Warriors are near the top for clean breaks and metres made this season but a few chances have gone astray, are you confident that the tries will come?
The finishing will definitely come. It’s been great to have so many clean breaks and we’ve spoken about finishing a lot. In training we have certainly improved so hopefully we can translate that onto the pitch soon.

The backs have been working closely with Matt Sherratt and Jonny Goodridge, what have you learnt from them and the other new coaches?
They are really good guys. They give us the freedom to express ourselves and they’ve brought a huge emphasis on fundamentals. Things like timing our passes so players can catch at pace and exploit defences. It’s been good to have fresh voices in. All the coaches understand what it’s like to be a player and I’ve learnt a lot from working under them.

Pretty much all the academy boys got some Premiership rugby towards the end of last season, how valuable was that game time?
It was really good to get that experience, especially alongside some of the senior players. I learnt a lot from them and playing some minutes at the top level was invaluable.

The Premiership is a lot faster than anything I’ve experienced before. It was strange playing in front on empty stands but you can feel the intensity and pace of the game straight away.

There are three international centres at the club, what’s it like working with them?
It’s very competitive, we push each other and learn from each other so it’s a great group. Experienced players like Ashley Beck and Francois Venter are constantly coaching and giving me words of advice which was really helpful in my first few games. Having a steady head next to me helped me out a lot.

What do you remember about your debut in Russia against Enisei last season?
It was a memorable trip and I really enjoyed it, there were a few of us making our debuts so it was nice to share that moment with others. It was my first visit to Russia and it was a good all round experience to come away with a win.

What do you enjoy doing off the pitch?
At the moment I’m studying Environmental Sciences so that takes up my time away from rugby. I also like playing golf and fishing when I can get the time. Last year a few of the academy boys set up a Frisbee trick shot Instagram account so maybe I’ll get back on that.