Morris brings experience to Mosconi Cup

Rodney Morris and Barry Hearn

One of the most reliable performers ever to wear a Team USA shirt at the Mosconi Cup is Hawaii's Rodney Morris. The 38 year-old made his bow in the competition in 2003 in Las Vegas and has been an ever-present on the side since then.

Always popular with both home and away fans, Morris has an enviable record of 18 points from 25 matches and was named the Most Valuable Player in 2004 following a series of dominating performances.

The happy-go-lucky American comes to Malta direct from the Philippines where he successfully captained the World side against the Philippines in the Quezon City Invasion: World v the Philippines Challenge.

Based loosely on the concept of the Mosconi Cup, the event featured two eight-man teams. With his side trailing in the final day, Morris rallied his troops, which included Americans, a Chinese, an Indian, Taiwanese, a German and his Mosconi Cup adversary Mika Immonen, to a 9-8 victory over the home team.

Add to that recent success with compatriot Shane Van Boening in winning the World Cup of Pool and it looks like Morris will be as prepared as anyone for the rigours of the Mosconi Cup.

'It was a great win in Manila, especially when not everyone spoke the same language, and the home crowd really let you know who they wanted to win,' said Morris.

'Coming into the Mosconi Cup, it is great preparation because team pool is a whole different ball game to our normal type of tournament where you are just there for yourself.'

After being on the losing end for the first time last year, Morris feels that the Americans will have learned from the experience.

'As far as Mosconi Cup goes, I believe we will get the Cup back this year based on heart, pure and simple.

'Lots of players come and go, but we always seem to see the same cream of players get it done in the end, and America has the best mind set when it comes to mental toughness as a whole.

'I'm also really excited about having Nick Varner back as captain, as he will surely get us focused and battling for every ball. '

Despite being on the receiving end last year and being up against the strongest European side for some time, Morris is adamant that the Cup will be heading west across the Atlantic on Monday 15th December.

'The Europeans have a stacked team, but I think it will be a lop-sided victory for us. If we don't win by at least three points, I'll be very surprised.'

The popular Hawaiian was involved in one of the pivotal moments in last year's event when on day 2, leading 4-2 overall and up 5-0 in his race-to-6 match against Tony Drago, Morris missed a combination on the 9 ball to allow the Maltese speedster to take control and run out a 6-5 winner.

It was a crucial match that saw the all the momentum swing in Europe's favour.

'Tony Drago had a few good matches last year, but  he was literally one shot away from being non-existent in the event if I had made that combination when I was ahead 5-0. That won't happen again....' added Morris.