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Hazell hails 'massive competitor' Morgan
Tom Hamilton
October 9, 2013
Andy Hazell and Olly Morgan were both part of the Gloucester squad that won the 2011 Anglo-Welsh Cup © Getty Images

Gloucester stalwart Andy Hazell has paid tribute to Olly Morgan labelling him a "massive competitor".

Morgan was forced to call time on his career on Wednesday after failing to recover from a ligament injury he sustained in January 2012. Morgan only won two caps for England but it is a total that should and probably would have been greater had it not been for his untimely injuries since his Test debut in 2007.

Hazell has been at Gloucester since 1997 and is a firm crowd favourite. Following Alex Brown, Peter Buxton and now Morgan's retirement the openside is one of the last 'old guard' and he says Morgan was one of the "best fullbacks in England".

"For me he was a massive competitor," Hazell told ESPN. "If there was a record board up at the club, he would not stop until he beat anything up there. He's so competitive, he never gave and he's brave. On the field, he was one of the best fullbacks in England but injuries kept him sidelined at key times.

"It is sad news; he was such a talented player. For me, it's sad to see someone with that much talent and not fulfil it - alongside Sinbad [James Simpson-Daniel] it was just a given talent. He never shirked in defence and just put everything on the line."

Morgan will now "explore various options available" to him and he may move into coaching after he guided Gloucester to the 2013 J.P Morgan Asset Management title. But he will no longer run out on to the Kingsholm turf as a player and admitted there have "been many great moments" during his playing career.

While Hazell has praised Morgan's on-field ability, he also has some fond memories of events away from the turf.

"About four or five years ago, we were in Portugal," Hazell said. "We've got this tradition of shaving people's hair off; he's doing his best to keep hold of it. So we thought we were going to get him in the night, but he wore a scrum cap to bed so when we tried to get it off him, he just ran away.

"We never got his hair and to this day, he's the only one not to have his hair shaved. So I'm going to make sure he's not going to get away again.

"And one thing I'm not going to miss is going round to his house for a dinner party and having to pay for it."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.

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