Scarlets have signed Wales-qualified centre Johnny Williams from Newcastle Falcons, the 23-year-old having spent the last two seasons in the north-east after coming through the ranks at London Irish.

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A Junior World Championships winner with England U20s in 2016, impressive form with the Falcons resulted in him representing the England senior team in an uncapped 2019 match against the Barbarians at Twickenham. He even scored a try in the 51-43 victory.

However, that non-cap appearance didn’t mean England claimed him for Test rugby and the strong-running centre remains qualified to play for Wales as his father Gareth hails from Rhyl in North Wales.

Williams is now relishing the opportunity to play in the Welsh game. “This is a massive opportunity for me to join a great club like the Scarlets and play in Wales,” he said on the Guinness PRO14 club’s website.

“The way the Scarlets play was a big reason behind the move. They have a back division full of internationals and top-class players which will help me develop my game and improve me as a player.

“When I first came into the squad at Irish just after finishing school, Glenn (Delaney) and Richard (Whiffin) were both there so it is great to work with them again. I enjoyed my two seasons at Newcastle and wish them well back in the Premiership. Now it’s a new challenge and experience for me at the Scarlets.”

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Scarlets head coach Delaney added: “Having coached Johnny at London Irish, I know how much of an exciting talent he is. He is a dynamic player with a lot to offer.

“He has shown great resilience and determination recently and is looking forward to getting on the field at Parc y Scarlets. It is a great opportunity for him and for us. He has settled in well already and we are excited to have him on board.”

Williams’ signing follows that of Tongan international back row Sione Kalamafoni from Leicester.

Scarlets general manager of rugby Jon Daniels said: “To our fans, I would like to say thank you for your continued support and patience during these difficult times. You really are a credit to the Scarlets family and we all look forward to the day we can be reunited at Parc y Scarlets.”

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