Former Brunel University student and Wales Rugby League International Paul Morgan has passed away at forty years old, following a short illness.
Morgan, from Pencoed, won two full Rugby League Caps for Wales, having made his first appearance in first class Rugby Union whilst studying at Brunel University in 1995, turning out for London Welsh.
He moved back to Wales just before the new millennium, signing for Whitland RFC, before joining Aberavon in 2000, his first Welsh Premiership Club. On his debut he made two tries against Walsall, at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
Morgan first tried his hand at Rugby League in 2003, with Welsh Conference side Aberavon Fighting Irish, and won his first Wales Dragonsheart cap in 2004. He made further appearances for Bridgend Blue Bulls RLFC, Celtic Crusaders, Maesteg and Bridgend Ravens before returning to his local club Pencoed.
In 2009, he moved into coaching, spending two years with Neath Athletic and Aberavon Quins. He was also a keen cricketer, playing at Pencoed Cricket Club for a number of years, having recently captained the side.
Morgan was loved in the Welsh sporting community, and tributes have been pouring in.
Chris O’Callaghan, former chief executive of Aberavon Wizards RFC and Celtic Crusaders RLFC:
“Had the great pleasure of knowing you as a friend, coach, player and as your skipper. Always wanted to play rugby the right way that resulted in Nathan Flynn and I using all his moves down Aberavon Greenstars. Never one to shy away from voicing his opinion, even if it wasn’t what people wanted to hear, hence the fact we got on so well! His passion about winning resulted in him being misunderstood! Winning Sexy was the only option.”
James Davies, former team-mate at Aberavon Quins RFC and Aberavon Fighting Irish RLFC:
“I’m devastated about the news to be honest. Having known Paul (and his family, especially his Mum and Dad) since he was a youngster coming through the ranks at Pencoed, he will be missed by all who knew him. A great trainer, a great player and a great bloke. Thoughts are with Heidi and the rest of the family at this tough time.”
Wayne Hall, friend and Team Manager at Bridgend Ravens:
“He was always a character, sometimes a show off but had heart of gold and always gave 100% for every team he played with. Simply a lovely guy who lit up the dressing room.”
Simon Green, former colleague from Bridgend Blue Bulls RLFC:
“Devastating news, all the players and members of Neath Athletic RFC, would like to offer our condolences to Paul’s family. A talented player and coach and also a top bloke. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time. RIP Paul."