Scarlets in B&I Lions coup
TRANSFER NEWS: Scarlets received a belated Christmas gift, with the news that one of their favourite sons is returning home.
Wales and British & Irish Lions fullback Liam Williams is heading home to rejoin the Scarlets – returning from European and English Premietship outfit Saracens.
The player announced the news to Scarlets supporters on social media on Thursday, just hours ahead of the big Boxing Day derby against the Ospreys.
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Having started his professional career with the Scarlets eight years ago, Williams has gone on to earn a reputation as one of the best all-round No.15s in world rugby.
Capped 62 times for Wales, where he has played wing and full he started in all three Lions Tests during the drawn series in New Zealand in 2017.
During six seasons for the Scarlets, he scored 29 tries in 111 appearances, helping the side to the Pro12 title in 2016-17 before joining Saracens where he was an English Premiership and European Champions Cup winner.
As well as club success during a glittering 2019, Williams was a key member of Wales’ Six Nations Grand Slam-winning side and the squad that reached the semifinals of the World Cup.
In a list of the 100 best players in the world this year, Rugby World magazine named him fifth.
The 28-year-old will rejoin the Scarlets ahead of the 2020-21 season with his signing a clear indication of the ambition of the region.
“We are delighted that Liam is heading home to the Scarlets,” said general manager of rugby Jon Daniels.
“He is one of the leading players in world rugby and to be able to sign a player of his calibre at the peak of his powers highlights our determination to build a squad that will challenge for silverware. Having Liam playing alongside the likes of Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, Steff Evans and our exciting young back-three talent is a mouthwatering prospect.
“Liam came through the ranks here at Parc y Scarlets; he understands the culture and values we stand by and also what we want to achieve.
“He is an attacking runner that can light up games, while his ability in the air and defensive qualities are second to none. There is no doubt we are signing a world-class player.
“Liam is also a popular figure with players, coaches and supporters and we are all excited by the prospect of seeing him back here at Parc y Scarlets.”
Looking forward to returning to the Scarlets, Williams said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saracens over the past three seasons. The environment has undoubtedly developed me as a player and a person. I am grateful for the support I’ve had from the players, management and supporters during this time.
“The opportunity to return home to the Scarlets was too good to turn down and I am incredibly excited about the future.”
The 28-year-old joined Saracens from the Welsh region following a successful British & Irish Lions tour in 2017.
In his first season at Allianz Park, Williams scored 10 tries in all competitions and helped the Men in Black regain the Premiership title as well as impressing on the international stage.
The Wales back-three player, who has made 31 Saracens appearances to date, then played a big part in the club’s 2018/19 double-winning y.
In a season in which he won a Six Nations Grand Slam with Wales, he scored two hat-tricks and tries in the Premiership semifinal and final as Saracens won both English and European honours.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saracens over the past three seasons,” he said.
“The environment has undoubtedly developed me as a player and a person. I am grateful for the support I’ve had from the players, management and supporters during this time.”
Director of Rugby Mark McCall added: “We’ve really enjoyed having Liam as part of our group for the past three seasons.
“We appreciate his contribution to the club and we wish him and Sophie well on their return home to Wales.”
Once a Scarlet, always a Scarlet!
Liam Williams is heading home to rejoin the Scarlets.
Cefnwr Cymru a’r Llewod Liam Williams yn dychwelyd adref i ailymuno â’r Scarlets
Read more // Darllenwch mwy 🔗 https://t.co/kylrgs18f4 pic.twitter.com/m5tHNYfIOm
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) December 26, 2019