Back-row Morgan has had a full week’s training with the Ospreys squad and will now go straight into Booth’s thinking this weekend alongside loose head prop Gareth Thomas and injury returnee, hooker Sam Parry also likely to be in the matchday squad named tomorrow afternoon.
Booth’s side will come into the match looking to regain momentum with a win after last weekend’s disappointing 31-23 defeat to Glasgow Warriors at the Swansea.com Stadium.
This weekend, however, will see them placed in a fierce battle for bragging rights with the Dragons as they face their first all-Welsh regional battle of the season against a side short of confidence having lost in all four rounds in the URC.
“It’s a tough place to go. If you take a look at the context of the fixture, we know that they are coming off the back of a disappointing result and it’s a Welsh derby and there will be plenty of emotions kicking around,” said Booth.
“The first thing you’re going to have to do is be in the contest from an emotional point of view. That is reflected in your fan base, your players and everything, but you still need to be clear in what you are trying to do.
“Jac [Morgan] is around, as is Sam Parry as well and also Gareth Thomas which is great. From a fitness point of view, those guys are ready to go and we are excited to see them around.”
Excited to see Morgan back in the fold, Booth feels that the newly named full-time Welsh captain is ready to adjust to the rigors of balancing club and country responsibilities.
“It is the first time he has been in a World Cup, and it is a new experience for him. For people like George North, Justin Tipuric and Adam Beard, it is old money. They are used to doing that sort of stuff,” explained Booth.
“He will be good for that extra week and that means he can hit the ground running and be the player that he knows he wants to be because he sets his standards and levels as being an international and a Welsh captain that he wants to adhere to.
“Our job is to perform well and have an engaged group to perform well. Part of that is to be physically and mentally able to do so, not just Jac, it is the same for everyone.
“Sometimes your hand is forced from an injury point-of-view but while you have the opportunity to protect players from themselves a little bit, certainly in Jac’s case where they want to do more and more it is important that we get them mentally fresh.”
Ready to face a battle against a wounded Dragon’s side, Booth feels the result of a regional match can kick-start a sides season, with feelings that more positive outcomes for his side can push them nearer to the latter season play-off stage of the competition.
“Our aim every year is to get to the play-offs and the more you win, the better your chances are. We have talked about the positives we can do rather than the negatives of what we can’t,” continued Booth.
“In derbies, there’s lots of emotion which can have lots of mistakes and can be a scrappy affair, you have to maintain your focus and be good at your basics. Those things are the building blocks of a performance against any Welsh opposition.
“Welsh derbies are always difficult with the emotional element to them. You have always got something to prove. Personal pride is a motivator for sure.
“No one goes out thinking we are going to be this and that, however, there are certain games you can target to springboard and get your season back on track.
“If you win a local derby that is a massive springboard of emotion that lets you kickstart and fragmented pre-seasons and player unavailability soon start to disappear because you are preparing from a winning position rather than a losing one.
“There has been a lot of learning [in the last week], and we must see it as the chance to get better. Our attitude to disappointment should fuel us with the enthusiasm to not feel it again.”
[Lead image: Ospreys Rugby]
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