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'It’s a rebuild' - Dwayne Peel on slew of stars exiting Scarlets

By Simon Thomas
Wyn Jones of British and Irish Lions in action against Bongi Mbonambi of South Africa during the third test of the British and Irish Lions tour match between South Africa and British and Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo By Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

It’s that time of year when a lot of departures are announced and the Scarlets have confirmed some particularly high-profile names on their leaving list ahead of their last home game of the season.


Wales and Lions stars Jonathan Davies, Wyn Jones and the retiring Ken Owens are all moving on, along with the likes of Scott Williams, Dan Jones, Ryan Conbeer and Eduan Swart, plus Ospreys-bound duo Kieran Hardy and Steff Thomas, while Johnny McNicholl left for New Zealand in March.

Conbeer starts on the wing against Ulster, while prop Jones, centre Williams and scrum-half Hardy are among the replacements.

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Speaking about letting players go, coach Dwayne Peel said: “It’s always a difficult thing to do.

“But it’s a professional sport, it’s part of what we do. Every year will be the same. There’s no getting away from it.

“Unfortunately, you have to say goodbye to players. All we can do is thank them for their great contribution to this club.”

He added: “It’s a rebuild for us now. We have lost a lot of experience over the last couple of years. It takes time to replace that and it takes a new group to grasp it by the reins.”


This weekend Peel goes up against a team he spent four years with on the coaching staff, while his assistant Jared Payne was there for more than a decade as player and coach.

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“They are in the hunt for the play-offs after hard-fought wins against Cardiff and Benetton,” said former Wales scrum-half Peel.

“They are obviously going to come here with that in mind. So it’s going to be a hard challenge.

“But we have been steadily improving and we want to push this Ulster team as much as we can.”


For the visitors, full-back Mike Lowry makes his 100th appearance, while Rob Herring comes into the side at hooker.

Players leaving Scarlets:

Ken Owens: Wales and British & Irish Lions hooker who retired in April, after 274 appearances and captaining for eight seasons.

Jonathan Davies: Former captain who made 209 appearances across two spells and scored 55 tries.

Scott Williams: Played 161 games, scoring 26 tries, and shone in the PRO12 title-winning season.

Dan Jones: Played 153 games over a decade, amassing 682 points and contributing significantly to the 2016-17 title season.

Samson Lee: Retired due to injury after 164 matches across 12 seasons.

Wyn Jones: Made 136 appearances since 2014 and played a key role in the 2017 silverware campaign.

Johnny McNicholl: Returned to New Zealand after 57 tries in 130 games.

Kieran Hardy: 100-cap club member who will join the Ospreys after scoring 25 tries.

Ryan Conbeer: Scored 33 tries in 78 appearances since 2016.

Steff Thomas: Academy product with 58 appearances, moving to the Ospreys.

Iwan Shenton: Back-rower with 12 appearances, currently on loan at Ampthill.

Eduan Swart: Hooker who scored a late match-winning try against Benetton after five appearances.

Joe Jones: Tight-head prop who made eight appearances since November.

Staff leaving:

Sara Davies: Team manager since 2018.

Rhys Jones: Strength and conditioning coach for 16 years.

Academy graduates leaving:

Lewis Morgan: Made five senior appearances.

Luca Giannini: Four senior appearances.

Callum Williams: Senior Academy.

Iestyn Gwilliam: Senior Academy.



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sean 12 minutes ago
The bite don't match the bark

Yeah, he has a few good points… I disagree that our 7s haven't done anything, we won Bronze in 2016, and we were virtually unplayable to the backend of the “teens” winning the series. 7s is far more competitive globally than Union, so it's fair to say we haven't dominated, but we are almost always contenders. But I do agree that our national side doesn't perform nearly as well as it should between World Cups, and I do agree that our supporters can be too passionate and the opitimity of what Rugby stands against. I have said so many times. And I also believe some context needs to be taken into account with Saturday's win for Ireland. They're a really good team! Settled coaching staff, and bar a few legends retiring, they've had a full season and plenty of time together. We have some youngsters being groomed for the future, have played only 3 games now under a new coaching team with new philosophies and game plans. I'm excited by what the future of this team holds, as much as I am disappointed by the result. But unlike this article suggests, I am never going to take away from what Ireland has achieved, is achieving, and where they're heading. As a Rugby fan, I love the tight games, like the last two weekends. As a Bok Super Fan, I agree we don't perform as well as we should. And as an aside, you come play a game at 7am on our fields, bud. -2°c and frost on the field that is as hard as concrete…. Then we’ll see just how tough you are. Well done Ireland! They played well, and gave our boys a lot to think about. That's what you want from the top two teams in the world. Rugby won. The fans of this greatbsport won. A'n bullshit like this article is why Rugby is losing its identity. I don't like soccer. This article perpetuates the soccer influences the game of Rugby is starting to see. It's why Wayne Barnes retired, feared for his family, and he isn't the only ref to say so. I have called out many Bok fans for being an embarrassment to the game, and I will continue to do so., this article is close to the same bullshit. You should be better.

32 Go to comments
Michael 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Cant deny Christie is a good defender, box kicks well at times, BUT he’s a second too slow passing from the ground. Roigard, Ratima and Hotham will be our 2027 halfbacks I believe DMAC has played reasonably well in both games, so deserves to keep his place - his two breaks at Eden Park should have resulted in tries. Reece was really to blame for the Taylor failure - he stayed too wide, if he had come in a couple of meters the pass from Taylor would have worked. The Perofeta failure was extraordinary, he is normally such a good distributor, failure to draw in Steward was remarkable, failure to look inside was a shocker. Cory Flynn as lineout coach… umm something a miss here. Not sure who is calling the lineouts, but clearly we miss Whitelock’s leadership. Having a disfunctional line out really underminded the AB attack. But let’s remind ourselves Itoje is a master, and their tactics of going for the arms of the jumper on landing and pulling over was brilliant causing Paddy and Scooter to both fumble the balls. I am a Blues supporter so I like Talea, but if you play him on the wrong wing look out. While he’s not the fastest wing, he’s elusive and very industrious always looking for work. However, he’s not the tallest player, and everyone knows his weakness (a) being turned in defence - he’s slow to turn and react and (b) never jumps for high balls is normally out jumped. Personally, I find Recce and Talea too alike - Razor needs to couple them with another complementary partner Clark and Narawa respectively. However, for me the real troubling challenge is our mid-field. I am sorry Barrett & Ioane are a poor combo - either Barrett & Proctor or ALB & Ioane - but having two mid-fielders who are poor distributors is nuts. Jordie had a forgettable game in truth he missed so many tackles, which to be fair is unlike him. But sadly both Barrett and Ioane chose to bash first and rarely distribute cleanly.

22 Go to comments
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