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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

Williams swaps Scarlets for Welsh rivals as Samoa centre moves in opposite direction

The centre will leave his home region after 11 seasons to join Ospreys on a three-year deal.

Williams has played 123 times for Scarlets.
Williams has played 123 times for Scarlets.
Image: Kevin Barnes/INPHO

WALES INTERNATIONAL SCOTT Williams will leave reigning Guinness Pro12 champions Scarlets to join crisis-hit Ospreys at the end of the current season, with centre Kieron Fonotia heading in the opposite direction.

The 27-year-old has today announced his decision to part ways with his home region after ‘months of negotiations’ over a new deal at Parc y Scarlets stalled.

“Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, a player decides the next chapter of his rugby career should be at another club,” Scarlets’ general manager Jon Daniel said.

Williams, who won his 50th cap for Wales in the November Test defeat to the All Blacks at the weekend, has been in stiff competition for places with Lion Jonathan Davies and Hadleigh Parkes in the Scarlets midfield this season.

Having come up through the club’s academy system, Williams played a key role in the Scarlets’ sensational Pro12 title-winning season last year and his capture is a real coup for struggling Ospreys.

Described as a ‘real statement of intent’ by the Welsh region, the signing of Williams on a three-year deal is a major fillip for Steve Tandy, who has embarked on a recruitment drive in a bid to reverse the club’s faltering fortunes.

Ospreys were hammered 47-6 by Glasgow Warriors at the Liberty Stadium last weekend and the four-time tournament winners were booed off after a result which leaves them bottom of Conference A of the Pro14.

“For us to secure his signature in the face of real competition is a significant statement of intent about what we are trying to do at the Ospreys and our ambition to ensure we can continue to compete at the top end,” Tandy said.

“Everybody at the Ospreys is delighted to get this over the line and we are excited about what Scott will bring to the environment next season, on and off the field, as he starts a new chapter in his career with his best years still ahead of him.”

Williams has played 123 times for Scarlets — scoring 21 tries — since his senior debut in 2010 and said his decision to move to Ospreys is the right one at this stage of his career.

Wales v New Zealand - Autumn International - Principality Stadium Williams won his 50th international cap last weekend. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

“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,” he said.

“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.

“I’m now looking forward to a fresh challenge at the Ospreys. I’m excited about the their mid and long-term plans and goals, and my role there as a senior player. I hope it will allow me to continue improving and developing, both as a player and as a person, which is a great motivator for me.

“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.”

The loss of Williams to the Scarlets is somewhat offset by the addition of Fonotia, who will join Wayne Pivac’s side ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Fonotia, a New Zealand-born Samoan international, moved to Wales last year after a couple of impressive years in Super Rugby with the Crusaders.

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