SCARLETS centre Scott Williams will leave his home region at the end of the current season as he signs a long-term deal with rivals Ospreys.
Williams became a well-known figure for the region after impressing from an early age in the age grade sides and then in the Scarlets Academy. He made his Scarlets debut against the Ospreys in October 2010 at Parc y Scarlets, coming off the bench.
The 50 capped welsh international, was part of the Guinness PRO12 championship winning side that defeated Munster at the Aviva Stadium last May. He will be making the journey over the Loughor bridge to the struggling Ospreys next season.
From Newcastle Emlyn, the centre has currently made 124 appearances for the West Wales region scoring 21 tries, including one against the European Champions Saracens last season.
He played for Wales age grade sides before making his international debut in June 2011 against the Barbarians in Cardiff and has featured in two World Cup’s. On Saturday (29 Nov) he reached 50 caps for his country against world champions New Zealand, at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Speaking on the move, Williams said; “I hope it goes without saying that this has not been an easy decision for me, but ultimately, I feel it is a move that is the right option for me at this time in my career.
“I’ve loved every minute of my 11 years at the Scarlets. I will always be grateful to the Board, Wayne and his team, and all associated with the club, for their support over those years.
“Once this weekend and the international period are complete, I’ll be back at the Scarlets, determined to positively contribute to achieving our goals for this season.”
Scarlets GM of Rugby, Jon Daniels said: “Negotiations to retain Scott have been ongoing for some months but today we can confirm he will be leaving us at the end of the season. Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, a player decides the next chapter of his rugby career should be at another club.
“We would like to thank Scott for his services to the Scarlets not only as a player but also as vice-captain and captain leading the club with pride.
“We’d also like to thank him for his honesty, dignity and humility during the process and wish him well in the next chapter of his rugby career. He is, and always will be, a Scarlet and we know he will be more determined than ever to bring success to the region before he departs.”
Meanwhile, Scarlets have signed centre Kieron Fonotia from the Ospreys ahead of the 2018/19 season.
The New-Zealander joined the Ospreys from Super Rugby side Crusaders in 2016 where he featured alongside current Scarlet back Johnny McNicholl.
Fonotia, who has six caps for Samoa, has made 29 appearances for the Ospreys.
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: “We are delighted to be in a position to confirm that Kieron Fonotia will be joining us at Parc y Scarlets next season.
“He’ll bring a physical edge along with attacking flair and ability to the squad and the style of play he’s used to playing back in New Zealand with the Crusaders will set him in good stead and should make for an easy transition the the Scarlets style of play.”
Fonotia added: “I’m very excited to be joining the Scarlets next season and playing again with a few familiar faces. They’ve had a very successful couple of years playing some good rugby and hopefully I can help develop that further.
“However, my priority now and for the remainder of the season, is to help improve the league position at the Ospreys and make sure the Ospreys climb up the conference and finish the season successfully.”