Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has committed his future to regional rugby and Wales by signing a three year National Dual Contract with the WRU and Scarlets.
The 28-year-old returns to Wales after a three-year spell with France giants Toulon and a third tour with the British & Irish Lions.
“I’m delighted to be coming back to play in Wales,” said Halfpenny. “I would like to thank the Scarlets and the WRU for giving me the opportunity to sign a National Dual Contract and can’t wait to get started.”
His return to Wales, where he previously excelled with Cardiff Blues between 2008-2014, has delighted national team head coach, Warren Gatland.
“It is great news for Welsh rugby that Leigh Halfpenny is returning to play his rugby in Wales,” said Gatland. “The NDC system helps us to bring these players back and I look forward to seeing him play for the Scarlets.”
His sentiments were fully endorsed by WRU chief executive, Martin Phillips, who added: “I’m delighted that we are able to announce Leigh’s return to Wales. His signature rubber stamps our commitment to the game here in Wales by having our best players playing their rugby on home soil which is vital to the future health of our game.
“We have made no secret of that and the importance both on and off the field at regional and national level in Welsh players playing their rugby in Wales.”
Wayne Pivac, who guided the Scarlets to Guinness Pro12 glory last season, believes Halfpenny is a vital piece in the Scarlets jigsaw as he looks to bring future success to the region.
“Leigh joining is great news for the club, the supporters, the team and the region as a whole,” said Pivac.
“With the experience of Liam [Williams] and DTH [van der Merwe] moving on at the end of last season we’ve added some new players to the squad, some exciting young talent, and a guy like Leigh brings a lot of experience to the squad that he will share with those young players.
“It has worked out really well and we look forward to welcoming Leigh and he’s really excited to be joining the Scarlets because of the way we play the game.”
Scarlets General Manager of Rugby, Jon Daniels, echoed his thoughts, by adding: “We are delighted to finally be in a position to confirm that Leigh Halfpenny will be joining us at the Scarlets for the forthcoming season and beyond.
“He is a proven performer on the international stage and his qualities both on and off the pitch will be a great addition to our squad as we endeavour to build on the success of last season.”