Aviva Premiership: Rhys Priestland to join Bath from Scarlets at end of season
Last Updated: 06/01/15 10:49pm
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland will join Bath from Scarlets at the end of the season.
Priestland, who turns 28 this week, joined Scarlets as an 18-year-old and has made 147 appearances for the club and 32 for Wales.
Next season – in all likelihood after the World Cup – he will compete with England fly-half George Ford for the No 10 shirt.
Priestland told the Scarlets website: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the Scarlets; there have been some great highs and some heartfelt lows.
“It’s a huge privilege to have played with some of the players I have during my time here with the Scarlets.
“I have been lucky to have been involved in some fantastic fixtures and career highlights here at the Scarlets would have to include representing the region in the Heineken Cup over the years.
“The Scarlets has been my home for a number of years and all that I’ve known as a club as a senior professional player. I will certainly miss the place and will be leaving some great friends behind but there’s a long way to go this season. I just enjoy playing for this team. It’s my home region and every time I pull on the shirt it’s an honour.
“I will be fully committed to helping the team achieve the ambitions we have set ourselves at the start of the season. Hopefully it can keep on improving for me personally and as team for the rest of the season.”
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: “We are disappointed to see Rhys go, he’s been a big part of the region for a long period of time and is a true professional both on and off the field. We appreciate that this is a great opportunity for Rhys to further develop and progress on a personal level.
“As a region we were keen to retain Rhys’ services but were unable to do so. Despite our desire and commitment to retain all of our international players within the region there are times when it’s not the right decision for the individual player at the time.
“Rhys has developed into a skilled fly half who commands excellence at all times and his leadership qualities, experience and maturity will be missed.
“This is an exciting new challenge for Rhys; he goes with our blessing and he will always be a Scarlet. He has been a great servant and we wish him well with his future.”
He becomes Bath's second major signing for next term after Glasgow's Fiji international scrum-half Niko Matawalu, while the Aviva Premiership title contenders have also been strongly linked with South Africa Test No 8 Duane Vermeulen.