Welsh qualified 21 year-old lock Jake Ball has joined the Scarlets Friday after finalising his contract with the West Wales region which will see him based at Parc y Scarlets for the next three years.
Qualified to play for Wales through his North Walian father who is from Colwyn Bay, Jake Ball is another great developing prospect for both the Scarlets and Wales.
The big young Australian lock stands at 6ft 7” and weighs in over 120kg and is regarded as one of the most promising rising talents in the Pindan Premier Grade competition. Ball has been training most recently with Super 15 side Western Force as part of their 2012 pre-season, and has been identified by the Scarlets as a player that could make huge strides in the next year.
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterly said the signing was significant on the basis of Ball’s age and profile and that within the Scarlets set-up he could continue to develop and progress.
Easterby said: “Jake gives us another strong option in the second row and the great thing about securing a player of his raw talent and potential at just 21, means that he can thrive, develop and progress within our systems and our set-up. He has a great stature and power and will only improve on his already impressive form.
“We’d hope that a Welsh qualified player of his potential will thrive within our environment and we can work on specific areas with him that fit into our progression as a team and squad over the next two to three years.
“It’s also a positive that given with his Welsh roots, we’re attracting, securing and nurturing Welsh qualified talent to play within our region and by doing so, give wider opportunity and prospects in the future for our international side.
“We’re delighted he’s joining us and along with other experienced and recognised international-class second rows recruited to the Scarlets squad as well, we have bolstered this area of our pack as outlined at the end of last season.
“We have been clear that we were committed to strengthening our pack as part of our further progression next season, so we have been looking at a range of players and continue to do so. We have taken time, effort and analysed our options very carefully.
“We will make announcements about any other new players in due course, mindful that it’s important that all the right channels and processes are completed and agreed. Out of respect for our environment, our players and the governing body, we believe it’s important that we first confirm details with the WRU, our players and colleagues at
Parc y Scarlets when we introduce new members to our team.”
Arriving at Parc y Scarlets at the end of this week, Ball said he was very impressed with the facilities and is looking forward to working with the coaching team including new Forwards Coach Danny Wilson who successfully managed the Wales U20 team in their World Cup this summer.
Ball said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for me; to get to play and work within the Scarlets set-up which has such a big reputation for progressing and supporting up and coming players. It’s a rugby club with a rich history and heritage that everyone recognises the world over.
“Having been round Parc y Scarlets now, I’m very impressed with the facilities – with everything in one rugby set-up on site both for training and match day is a real plus and the coaches obviously have a lot of ambition and energy and a real connection with their players.
“There are some experienced players and coaches in the Scarlets set-up who will no doubt push me further in my career and that’s what you really want at my age.
“I’m looking forward to getting into training and hopefully getting some great opportunities in the league and to play in Europe – it’s an exciting time for me and I’m eager to get going.”