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Morley lied to play for Wales

Steve Mascord NRL.com Tue, Nov 13, 2012 - 10:37 AM

ENGLAND star Adrian Morley has sensationally admitted his brother Chris lied about his background in order to make 13 appearances for Wales.

In a cautionary tale ahead of next year's World Cup, Adrian says in his newly-released biography, Moz, that Chris did not qualify to play for the principality on any basis and instead got into the team by speaking "fluent bulls...".

Adrian Morley writes: "Mike Gregory, the assistant coach at St Helens, was also the Wales assistant. One day, when he was leaving training at Saints, he (Gregory) just so happened to mention he was heading to train the Wales team.

“I’m Welsh,” Chris told him. “Well, my gran is... I’m not sure if that counts or not.”

It counted.

"He travelled down with Greg to the training base, where he was asked more about his Welsh ancestry. And so Chris told them that she lived in a little village, just outside of Swansea which – even after all these years – he still couldn’t pronounce. Aber-something-or-other. Our gran hardly spoke a word of English, he told them, and she loved Wales more than anything.

"None of which was true, of course. My gran didn’t really speak fluent Welsh, but fortunately for Chris he spoke fluent bulls... His little white lie proved his passport into the Wales team and, to make it even sweeter, it activated a clause in his St Helens contract which gave him a payment of a few grand for playing international rugby!

"I remember him phoning me up.

"Aje, if anyone asks you, our gran is Welsh,” he said.

"I thought she was from St Helens.”

"Not anymore."

In 2006, New Zealand's Nathan Fien was kicked out of the Tri-Nations and his team stripped of two competition points when it emerged that his great grandmother - and not his grandmother - was a Kiwi. He has since qualified for New Zealand on residency grounds.

Morley's story is likely to serve as a warning to organisers of next year's World Cup, which will include 14 teams including dozens of players whose qualifications are by ancestry.

In Moz, co-written with journalist Phil Wilkinson, Morley continues: Wales had a strong squad back then, and for Chris it was a chance to play at the top level. As time went on it soon stopped being a family joke – he became really affiliated with Wales.

"He starting cheering for them in the rugby union and football, too, and even learned their national anthem. I know he had no Welsh link, but I saw how proud he was to play for Wales.

"Years later, I was actually offered the chance to play for them as well, and I was tempted. Really tempted. The main team was Great Britain at the time, so fixtures for England – or Wales – were few and far between. I saw how much Chris enjoyed it and what it meant to him, and the chance to play alongside him really appealed, but in the end I stuck with England. I thought, being English, it was the right thing to do.”