The Scarlets have announced that former Wallaby international no8 David Lyons will be released from his contract with the Welsh rugby region this summer.
The Scarlets have agreed to release Lyons from the final year of his contract to enable the Australian-born player to pursue his ambition to secure a new long-term contract within France. Following the completion of a medical early this week, it has been confirmed that Lyons will now leave Parc y Scarlets.
Lyons, 30 joined the Scarlets in July 2008 on a four-year deal from the Waratahs. He has made a big impact in Scarlets colours as one of the stalwarts in the pack over the past three seasons and leaves Llanelli with a personal message of thanks to the region’s supporters and his fellow players and coaches.
David Lyons said: “It’s been one of the most enjoyable times of my rugby playing career at the Scarlets and I have great respect for the commitment being made to develop new young talent at Parc y Scarlets. Credit should be given to the club for it’s vision – there’s some really good young players coming through now for the region and I’m pleased to have played my part in helping bring some of them through.
“Being part of the Scarlets has been something I’ve valued and feel honoured to have experienced – it’s a really good young side and the guys play an exciting, attacking brand of rugby which has been great to be part of.
“This Scarlets team will only go from strength-to-strength with the core of players they have gaining in experience. You’ve got the quality and ambition of some good young blokes in the back row, they will put their body on the line and won’t shirk anything.
“There’s a strong united team spirit and values within the Scarlets set-up which you don’t find everywhere and the supporters are some of the most passionate and loyal fans you’ll find in world rugby. I’m really grateful for the welcome and support they’ve given me over the past three years.”
Lyons, who appeared in 16 of the Scarlets 32 competitive fixtures this season added: “It’s not an easy decision to move on, we’ve had a great few years in Wales and have been made to feel very much part of the Scarlets way of life in West Wales.
“However, I had always planned to play in France and I’ve been working closely with the region for some months now on my release. I‘m looking forward to the opportunities ahead of me now and the chance to pursue my ambitions with a French club.”
Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies said: “David has played an important role within our group over the past three years and he leaves knowing that he has made a significant impact on the squad of younger players we have coming through.
“He has always been a consummate rugby professional, his experience and approach with younger players has been valuable to us at key times within our season and he did a sound job last year leading the Scarlets as captain when Mark Jones was injured. During his time at Parc y Scarlets has shown great commitment to our region and support to all the players. We wish him and his young family well in the future and thank him for his contribution.”
Davies added that that the back row was an area that the Scarlets were showing increasing strength in depth with the likes of Welsh internationals Josh Turnbull, Rob McCusker as well as emerging no8 talent Ben Morgan.
Morgan has made 22 competitive appearances in Scarlets colours this season, with 15 starts and three man-of-the-match awards. Morgan has signed a new contract with the region in May 2011 as one 21 new signings made recently by the Scarlets for the future.
BIOGRAPHY: DAVID LYONS
Scarlets debut: Bath Rugby in August 2008
Scarlets appearances: 77
Points: 30 (3 tries in 2008/2009 season, 3 tries in 2009/2010 season)
Vice-captain in 2009/2010 season.
International captain in 2010/2011 season alongside Matthew Rees and Stephen Jones.
In his first season, he started in all 30 of the Scarlets’ league and Heineken Cup matches.
Lyons won 44 caps for Australia from 2000-2008.