Harry Morley eager to prop up experience in Cambridge front row
New prop keen to make National League One impact
It is widely accepted that like a bottle of red wine, a prop gets better with age.
The view has long been held, and it is often attached to the process of learning the dark arts of the front row.
So with a wealth of experience already under his belt, the future certainly looks bright for 23-year-old Harry Morley.
The loose-head prop has joined Cambridge until the end of the season from National League One leaders Coventry.
But prior to his move to the Butts Park Arena, he had already made 30 appearances in the Championship and British & Irish Cup with Nottingham.
The journey for Morley though started at Peterborough, with the first stop being the Northampton Saints senior academy.
“It was good, it was full-time rugby, and that was the year we won the league,” said Morley.
“There was a really good team that year with the boys that have come up and are playing in the first team now.
“It was a strong team. I had left just before we won the league, to Australia, and that was about two weeks before so I didn’t get to see them at Twickenham.”
The move to Australia was assisted by the Saints, who had put Morley in touch with clubs and led to him spending a year with Randwick.
“It was very quick, they like to play a lot of running rugby,” said Morley.
“I lost a lot of weight going out there because they just wanted to play; no set piece and just running around basically carrying.
“That was definitely a different style of play to what I had been used to in England.
“Going straight there, I had a few games for the development team as I was still 18 so could play for the under-18s and their academy.”
It was his links with Saints that helped Morley earn a move to Nottingham on his return, and he had two years working with head coach Martin Haag and then, a season learning from Ian Costello.
“It was full-time rugby there and was the right thing to do,” said Morley. “Coming back from Australia, I hadn’t established myself as a player yet and Dusty Hare [the then Northampton Saints academy boss] helped me out to get to Nottingham, giving a good reference to Martin Haag.
“And as well, because I was at Moulton College, Jon Phillips helped me out a lot to get to Nottingham.
“Those three years I learned a lot.”
Things did not work out at Coventry, and it was after four weeks on loan at Chinnor that he decided to make the switch to Cambridge.
The club from Volac Park have always prided themselves on developing young players, giving them a leg back up the rugby pyramid, and that ethos was a crucial factor for Morley in the move.
And he is using the example of Jamal Ford-Robinson as an inspiration, with the former Cambridge player catching the eye to move to Cornish Pirates, then Bristol before earning a switch to Northampton Saints this summer and an England call-up.
“I was playing in the Championship last year as a young prop, but I felt like getting more game time coming down a league to try to springboard myself back up,” said Morley.
“I’m feeling this next part of the season will stand me in good stead for next year moving forward.
“Cambridge have pushed a lot of players back up the league. Jamal [Ford-Robinson] has done very well since Cambridge, going forward.
“He’s someone you look at and think ‘he’s someone they’ve brought through’ and going forward they have given them an opportunity in the National League and he has thrived on it, and is doing really well at the moment. He is getting game time at the Saints.”
And it has been a good start for Morley at Cambridge, with two wins from his first two games.