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Scarlets confirm exit of 13 players, two staff, four academy hopefuls

By Liam Heagney
Wales scrum-half Kieran Hardy is on the move from Scarlets (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

United Rugby Championship strugglers Scarlets have confirmed the departure of 13 senior players, two senior team staff, and four senior academy hopefuls from Parc y Scarlets.

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The Welsh region, who play their final home game of the 2023/24 season this Saturday versus Ulster, will lose a vast amount of Test-level experience when the campaign ends.

Ken Owens and Samson Lee have retired, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams and Wyn Jones will be free agents, while Kieran Hardy has signed for nearby rivals Ospreys.

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A statement read: “Scarlets can confirm the players and staff who will be leaving the club at the end of the 2023/24 season. Supporters will have the opportunity to say farewell to the players following Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash with Ulster at Parc y Scarlets.

“Negotiations continue with other members of the squad and we will confirm all players who have been retained for the 2024-25 season in the coming weeks.”

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Head coach Dwayne Peel said: “It is always a difficult and emotional time as we say farewell to players and staff including some great Scarlets who will be remembered as club legends.

“We would like to thank each player and each member of staff for the work, pride, and commitment they have shown to the Scarlets during their time here. They can all be proud of the way they have represented this club and we wish them all well for whatever comes next.”

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Ken Owens: The Wales and British & Irish Lions hooker announced his retirement from rugby in April, bringing the curtain down on an incredible career. Ken made 274 appearances for the Scarlets and captained the club for eight seasons, including the title-winning campaign of 2016-17. Will be remembered as one of the greatest players to pull on the Scarlets jersey.

Jonathan Davies: Another modern-day great, ‘Foxy’ has played 209 games for the Scarlets across two spells in Llanelli. A former captain, he has been another who has represented the club at the highest level for Wales and the Lions (twice). A key component in the Scarlets’ PRO12 title triumph, Jonathan has scored 55 tries for the club.

Scott Williams: The Wales international centre has made 161 appearances for the Scarlets and like Ken and Jonathan, shone in the side that lifted the PRO12 title in stunning style in Dublin. Scott has 26 Scarlets tries to his name, including a memorable score in the Champions Cup quarter-final victory over La Rochelle – one of the club’s biggest days.

Dan Jones: ‘Dinky’ has played 153 matches over a decade at the Scarlets, amassing 682 points. A Carmarthen product, he scored a memorable try against Toulon during the Champions Cup run in 2018 and has delivered a string of match-winning moments with the boot. Played a big part in the title-winning season of 2016/17.

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Samson Lee: In December, at the age of 31, Samson announced his retirement from rugby because of injury. A home-grown player from Llanelli who came through the Academy, the powerful tight-head prop played 164 matches for the Scarlets across 12 seasons.

Wyn Jones: A product of Llandovery RFC, Wyn has made 136 appearances for the Scarlets since his debut in 2014. Another integral cog in the charge to silverware in 2017, his reward was the number one jersey for Wales and the Lions.

Johnny McNicholl: J-Mac said his farewells to the Scarlets in March to link up with his former side the Crusaders in New Zealand. A potent try-scorer, he crossed the whitewash 57 times in 130 games, including one on his debut against Leinster.

Kieran Hardy: Kieran recently became the latest member of the 100-cap club when he led the side out against Glasgow. Made his debut in 2014 after coming through the Academy. The Wales international scrum-half has scored 25 tries in the Scarlets colours. Will be joining the Ospreys in the summer.

Ryan Conbeer: The Saundersfoot winger burst onto the scene in 2016 and has scored 33 tries in 78 Scarlets appearances.

Steff Thomas: An academy product from Newcastle Emlyn, Steff has 58 Scarlets appearances to his name since his debut in 2017. Is joining the Ospreys for next season.

Iwan Shenton: The back-rower has made 12 appearances since signing from Cardiff Met in 2022. Is currently on loan with English Championship side Ampthill.

Eduan Swart: The hooker, signed from South African side the Lions, has played five matches since arriving in December, scoring the late match-winning try against Benetton.

Joe Jones: The experienced tight-head prop joined in November from Sale Sharks. Has made eight appearances. 

Sara Davies (team manager): Sara was appointed team manager at the Scarlets in 2018 and has played a key role as part of the backroom staff at Parc y Scarlets.

Rhys Jones (strength & conditioning coach): Rhys has been part of the strength and conditioning team at the Scarlets for 16 years, going back to the final days at Stradey Park.

Academy: We would also like to wish Lewis Morgan (five senior appearances), Luca Giannini (four senior appearances), Callum Williams, and Iestyn Gwilliam from our senior academy the best for the future as they leave the club.

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