Lancaster weighs up options
England interim head coach Stuart Lancaster has praised Ben Morgan after he impressed off the bench against Scotland.
Last Updated: 07/02/12 7:26am
Stuart Lancaster admits Ben Morgan is "finding his feet quickly" with England, leaving the interim head coach with a real selection dilemma for Saturday.
Flanker Morgan came off the bench to make his Test debut in the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield, taking over from Phil Dowson at the back of the pack.
The 22-year-old certainly impressed during his cameo appearance, leading to suggestions that the Scarlet could be pushing for a starting berth for the trip to Rome to take on Italy.
Lancaster has praised Morgan for how quickly he has adapted to the international game as he considers his options for the weekend.
"Part of the selection discussion over the two weeks has been about the back row," he said.
"I was pleased with its balance on Saturday and I thought Tom Croft, Chris Robshaw and Phil all contributed in different areas.
"We were pleased with Ben Morgan's impact from the bench. He has taken a huge step to go from no representative rugby straight into the England side.
"For him to come here and be involved as he has been, he is clearly finding his feet quickly.
"We are pleased with the impact he made but we also bear in mind the steps he has taken.
"It is part of the selection dynamic for this weekend."
Despite the 13-6 victory over Scotland, none of the team that started in Edinburgh are certain to keep their places for the second match of the RBS Six Nations campaign.
Lancaster intends to run the rule over his entire squad in some competitive training sessions before making a decision over his starting XV.
"You make training competitive and that's one of the things I've tried to do, certainly over the last two weeks," said the former Leeds boss.
"For example when we do 15 v 15 tomorrow (Tuesday), I'll try to make it so that the players who are on the fringes or are on the bench get a genuine opportunity to play.
"The session will be competitive, allowing the players to show their skills rather than just give them a bib and tell them to be a defender.
"It's when you get that competition and desire for the shirt that you really start to get high performances.
"Everyone has to train well. I place as much importance on how players conduct themselves in training during the week as on what they do at the weekend.
"I want to create a mindset where people are thinking about being excellent every day because that's what it takes to keep or gain the shirt."