Wales' Moriarty thriving on back-row competition


Ross Moriarty played for England Under-18s and Under-20s before opting for Wales at senior level

Ross Moriarty says he is relishing the competition for back-row places in the Wales squad.

The 24-year-old has played every minute of Wales’ summer tour so far after a stop-start season with Gloucester.

The Dragons-bound player established himself in Warren Gatland’s squad since making his debut in 2015, but has faced stiff competition for a starting place.

“I’m not going to sit back and let someone else take my spot easily,” said Moriarty who has won 22 caps.

“There is some serious competition and at the moment there are a lot of back-rowers in very good form.

“There will be lots of competition next season but it is only going to make you want to train harder so I’m looking forward to it.”

Moriarty and Richard Hibbard have both left Gloucester for Dragons, with Moriarty signing a two-year-deal with the region

Wales are without British and Irish Lions Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau, while Josh Navidi and Aaron Shingler had to withdraw from the squad due to injury.

Moriarty has played most of his club career at blindside flanker but has won the majority of his Wales caps from number eight.

“For Wales I’m just happy to get a starting spot, no matter where it is in the back-row,” he said.

“To be honest it doesn’t really impact my game, I just try to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. I know what I’m good at and that’s what I try to stick to.

“Sadly for Josh Navidi and Aaron Shingler they’ve got injuries at the moment, but they will be coming back wanting to get their spot again.”

Ross Moriarty has been involved in the Wales set-up since the 2015 World Cup

Moriarty was limited to just five Gloucester appearances last season after returning from a serious back injury which ended his British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand early last summer.

The back-row returned to Test action for Wales during the Six Nations and was released early from his Gloucester contract in order to link-up with Wales ahead of this summer’s tour.

Moriarty has responded by proving the top tackler in the first Test win over Argentina with a total of 26.

“Especially given the lack of game time I’ve had this season to be given the opportunity in the last two games has been great and I’ve made the most of them,” he said.

“I’ve been involved in the 80 minutes for each game which I wasn’t really expecting but I’ve been pleased with how it’s gone.

“The training plan I had put in place before this tour has helped me a lot.

“The early release from Gloucester meant I could come into camp as soon as possible and the fitness we’ve been doing has definitely done what it was supposed to do.

“I’m really pleased with where I am.”

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