The Scarlets have handed new contracts to five top prospects from an exciting new generation of Scarlets players who have been developed from within the region.
The investment in the region’s most promising talent sees two of this season’s emerging young backs move from development contracts to full senior contracts and three new development players added to boost the Scarlets squad.
The Scarlets faithful will be delighted with news that 20 year-old scrum half Gareth Davies has committed his future to the region with a new deal that will see him provide competition for the no9 jersey at Parc y Scarlets alongside international talent Tavis Knoyle.
Davies is one of three Newcastle Emlyn born and bred Scarlets players including back row Josh Turnbull and centre Scott Williams. The 20-year-old has come through the region’s development pathway as a former Scarlets Academy player with international honours with Wales U18 and U20’s.
The quick and skilful young scrum half on a Scarlets development contract this season has made nine Scarlets appearances in 2010/11 – winning man of the match in the Scarlets’ league win over Edinburgh back in February. He has played 16 times for the region’s Premiership club Llanelli RFC this season with four tries.
The Scarlets also hand a senior contract to centre/wing Nick Reynolds, another product of the Scarlets Academy, Nick secured his Scarlets debut in October 2010 with a win against Glasgow in the Magners League. His first Scarlets try came against Leinster in March this year.
Reynolds who has international caps with Wales U20s, has come through the ranks of Llangennech Juniors and youth before coming into the Scarlets Academy. He has consistently performed in the Premiership winning player of the month last season and so far this season has scored 11 tries in his 24 games for Llanelli RFC.
The region has also signed development contracts with three emerging young Scarlets talents:
Owen Williams: Fly-half, 19 born in Neath played his early rugby with Ystradgynlais then through the Ospreys U16 and U18 set-up and played with Llangennech last season. He got his first start for the Scarlets against the Dragons this season and has played 12 games for Llanelli RFC this season and has played for Ammanford RFC.
Liam Williams:Full-back, aged 20 from Morriston. Liam has featured in all the Wales under-20s Six Nations games as well this season. He’s played 20 games this season for Llanelli RFC with three tries.
Chris Keenancentre from Llanelli, aged 24. He began his rugby career with Llanelli Wonderers at U16 then to Furnace Youth and Furnace seniors, followed by Felinfoel RFC and then signed for Premiership side Llanelli RFC.
This brings the number of Scarlets players secured on new contracts for next season and beyond, to 26 following the announcement earlier this month, of a group of 21 Scarlets players committing their future to the region. This is alongside a number of key players who are already contacted next season including Welsh internationals Jon Davies, Stephen Jones, Matthew Rees, Sean Lamont.
Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies said: “Our ethos is to invest in some of the best young talent from within our region and that is shown by the amount of game time and experience the players on development contracts have had with us this season.
“They know that if they commit to the Scarlets and are part of our senior squad, there will be opportunities for them. Bringing through young players adds competition, energy and increases ambition within our rugby environment and with our team of coaches, these players will continue to progress.
“These players are all exciting prospects in their own right and they are eager and committed to developing further within our senior environment alongside our experienced international players.
“There is a lot to be excited about in terms of the Welsh talent we have secured in this Scarlets team going forward which will only improve as time goes on. We have belief and pride in our vision to develop leading Welsh players of the future from within the Scarlets region.”
Gareth Davies(scrum-half), from Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire aged 20, studied at Coleg Sir Gar, international caps with Wales U18 and Wales U20, he was a Scarlets Academy player from 2006. He signed a two-year development contract with the region last season. Scarlets debut against Dragons on 31st December 2009. Welsh speaking Davies was educated at Ysgol Gyfun Dyffryn Teifi, Llandysul before moving on to study Sports Development and Coaching at Coleg Sir Gar, Llanelli. He made five appearances for the Scarlets during the 2009-10 season
Nick Reynolds (centre)from Llanelli, aged 22. Details: Swansea University in final year of Sports Science degree. Wales U20 last year. Previously a Scarlets Academy player and has been playing in Principality Premiership with Llanelli RFC. Won Principality Premiership Player of the Month in April 2010 and was part of the SWALEC Cup winning team with Llanelli RFC end of last season. Has been on a development contract this season.