SCARLETS chief executive Mark Davies says the region will refuse to discuss speculation linking any of their players with moves abroad.
Following the announcement by Wales and British Lions centre Jamie Roberts that he is leaving Cardiff Blues at the end of the season, stories have surfaced about the futures of two more of the country’s bright young talents, Dan Lydiate and Dan Biggar.
The Scarlets have a number of their leading players coming out of contract this summer, including centre Scott Williams and hooker Matthew Rees, who both started for Wales against Argentina last weekend. Aaron Shingler and Ken Owens are others whose current deals are due to expire.
However, Davies says the region will remain tight-lipped over negotiations with those players and others who may be on the radar of French and English clubs.
“Just as we’ve said in previous years when asked about contract negotiations with any of our players, we believe our responsibility is to discuss with our player first, and then people directly linked within our rugby environment,” said Davies.
“As with any other season and particularly around the time of international fixtures, until we are the other side of the Six Nations, we do not believe it is appropriate or true to our values as a business to talk in public about future contracts until final decisions are made.”
At the age of 31, Rees — the Lions Test hooker in 2009 — would be a prime target.
Only last week he called on the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions to sort out the situation in order to avoid the player haemorrhage from the regions continuing. And asked directly
if a move to France would appeal
to him, he said: “You can never say never. You just don’t know what’s around the corner.”
As for Williams, he was a target of English and Welsh clubs when his last contract was up in 2011.
Then, he was one of 21 players to agree new deals with the West Wales region, among them Wales star George North, who has another year remaining on the three-year deal he signed, and fly-half Rhys Priestland, whose contract also runs until 2014.
The Scarlets fought off the challenge of top English and French clubs to keep hold of another Grand Slam star Jonathan Davies last term, and will hope they can do the same with the likes of Scott Williams this time around.
Meanwhile, Wales squad members Liam Williams and Samson Lee have been released to start in this evening’s LV= Cup clash against Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets (6.30).
Williams comes in at full-back, while Lee replaces South African Jacobie Adriaanse, who is named among the replacements.
Fly-half Dan Newton has recovered from a groin injury to make his first competitive appearance of the season and partners Llandovery’s Rhodri Williams at half-back. Flanker Johnathan Edwards returns to captain the side with Dan Thomas dropping down to the bench.
The Blues have named Harry Robinson on the wing in a side that includes former Scarlets centre Gavin Evans.
Scarlets: Liam Williams; K. Phillips, G. Maule, G. Owen, A. Fenby; D. Newton, R. Williams; S. Hopkins, K. Myhill, S. Lee, J. Ball, J. Snyman, C. Price, K. Murphy, J. Edwards (capt). Reps. E. Phillips, P. John, J. Adriaanse, J. Galley, D. Thomas, G. Davies, A. Thomas, N. Reynolds.
Blues: D. Fish; H. Robinson, O. Williams, G. Evans, T. James; G. Davies, R. Lewis; S. Hobbs, M. Breeze, R. Harford, M. Cook, J. Down, L. Hamilton, A. Pretorious (capt), T. Young. Reps: R. Williams, C. Mafu’u, F. Filise, C. Hill, R. Watts-Jones, L. Williams, C. Sweeney, R. Patchell.