16th August 2017, 12:27
MEET THE TEAM: Ben Morris
St Helens' Ben Morris, who is currently on loan at Oldham, is the latest player to feature in our MEET THE TEAM series ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2017.
Like a number of Wales players over the years, Ben Morris' first international cap came before his first-team debut at club level.
Similar to the story with Sam Hopkins, his first call-up to the Wales squad came out of the blue.
Ahead of Wales' full international against Jamaica last autumn, the 20-year-old received a phone call from team manager Bob Wilson, asking him to link up with the squad.
Before he knew it, he was lining up at Wakefield's Belle Vue Stadium for the clash with the Jamaicans.
Ben scores a try for Saints' academy side against arch rivals Wigan
He then went on to feature in the World Cup qualifier against Italy, playing a key part with two tries from the centres.
"Last year, I didn't know that any of it was going to happen," Morris admitted.
"I was on holiday and got the phone call. When I got back, I trained, ended up playing and earned two caps in the end.
"It was a really good experience for me and I think I've grown from it."
Between the age of six and 14, Morris played for Blackbrook, an amateur club in the St Helens area.
He then joined Super League giants Saints and has been at the club for the past six years.
During his time at the Totally Wicked Stadium to date, he has featured for the youth sections and played a key role in the unbeaten Academy Championship side last year.
This season, he has made six appearances for the reserves and crossed for three tries.
Although Morris hasn't managed to break into the first-team picture as of yet, he recently joined Championship club Oldham on loan until the end of the season.
Since linking up with Scott Naylor's men, he has made two appearances in the Championship Shield.
"It's been alright so far," Morris said on the move.
"I'm getting more game time and that'll hopefully give me a better chance of making the Wales squad at the end of the year.
Ben in action for Saints against Salford
"With the reserves team, we weren't sure if and when the fixtures were going to happen.
"It's been a lot different to the reserves; it's a lot more physical and there are older players who have been around.
"It's more experience for me to get under my belt."
After being named in John Kear's 38-man train-on squad for the World Cup, along with Saints teammates Regan Grace, Calvin Wellington and Elliot Jenkins, Morris will relish the chance to feature this autumn.
"It would be massive if I were to be picked for the World Cup," he said.
"When you look at some of the players who are in the squad, it would be fantastic to play alongside them.
"We're playing Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Ireland; it would be an experience that I certainly wouldn't forget."
Now that he has made his first-team debut at club level with Oldham, Morris will no doubt be hoping to impress John Kear and his coaching staff in the competitive division that is the Championship.
Name: Ben Morris
Community club: Blackbrook
Eligibility: Born in Liverpool. Eligible through his grandmother
Date of birth: 01/08/97
Wales heritage: #507; Wales caps: 2; Wales tries: 2; first Wales appearance: 21/10/16; last Wales appearance: 29/10/16
SEE BEN'S FULL WALES RECORD HERE
Ben with friends
Ben with his parents, brother and sister
YOU CAN FOLLOW BEN ON TWITTER: @BenPaulMorris
YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW BEN ON INSTAGRAM: @ben_morris97
Wales' group matches at Rugby League World Cup 2017 are as follows:
PAPUA NEW GUINEA V WALES
Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby
FIJI V WALES
WALES V IRELAND
Perth Rectangular Stadium
Get behind the boys at the World Cup by purchasing the new replica kit! Visit the online shop HERE.
Article by Ryan Gould
Images from Ben Morris and ianlovell.com