As a 17-year-old, Jac Morgan made plans for a life away from rugby by enrolling on a mechanical engineering course.
Five years on and the flanker says his decision to commit to the game and abolish his apprenticeship is the best he’s ever made.
The 22-year-old made his Wales debut against Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations last weekend, helping his side to a 20-17 win that keeps their title hopes alive.
It was the latest landmark in a meteoric rise for the Ospreys star, who has long been earmarked as a Test quality back row.
But his life could have easily taken a different path, with Morgan balancing the trials and tribulations of professional rugby with a mechanical engineering course until three years ago – until the Under-20s World Cup three years ago.
He explained: “So the first year when I was playing for Wales Under-20s I was working all the afternoons and the evenings, it was quite hard.
“We went to Argentina for the Under-20s World Cup during the summer of 2019, and then around October time when the Under-20s started up again with a few training camps, I was weighing up if I could do it all again.
“I spoke to the academy manager, who was also the coach of the Under-20s, and I just asked him if I would be allowed to come into training if I finished work, and he said yes.
“So I decided that October to try and give the Under-20s a shot more than anything, then I joined up with the Scarlets, and yeah, that was the decision behind it.
Next week, the Ospreys star could win his second cap against England at Twickenham.
Wales had a difficult start to their 2022 Guinness Six Nations campaign, losing 29-7 against Ireland, but their bounce-back win against Scotland has given them a chance to win this year’s title and repeat their 2013 success – when they lost the opening game but won their last four to clinch the crown.
He added: “Obviously, the boys were disappointed after that first Ireland game, but we just reviewed the game.
“We went into training on the Monday, and it was just sort of a next job mentality.
“There are a lot of leaders in the team, leading the boys, and we knew what we had coming up against us and the improvements that we had, and so we were just working on it throughout the week.
“There’s a lot of people watching, and a lot is said about it and whatever you know.
“I try not to listen or read into it too much because I’m focussed on training and everything inside the camp.”
Singing Land of my Fathers at Principality Stadium is a huge moment for any Wales player, and for the Welsh-speaking Morgan it was a source of a immense pride.
“It’s hard to explain the emotions that I felt while singing the anthem,” he said.
“There’s loads of emotions, obviously I was happy and proud being out there and singing the anthem especially in front of a home crowd.
“I was nervous, my nerves were terrible whilst singing it and what with it being my home anthem and being a Welsh speaker I nearly forgot the words halfway through what with everyone being so loud.
“It was brilliant you know the feeling and the nerves and everything.
“I could see my mother in the stand in the front so that helped cool everything down a little bit.