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Liam Williams pens Cardiff contract

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(Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Cardiff Rugby are thrilled to have completed the signing of Liam Williams ahead of the 2022-23 season.

The Wales and British & Irish Lions full-back is the Blue and Blacks’ third signing in preparation for next season and follows in the footsteps of Thomas Young and Taulupe Faletau.

Williams replaces fellow Wales international Hallam Amos, who retires in the summer, and Cardiff director of rugby Dai Young is delighted to continue strengthening his squad with first class talent.

Young said: “We are all really excited to have signed Liam and look forward to welcoming him to Cardiff next season.

“We knew we had an opening at full-back and Liam’s talent and consistency is abundant for all to see. He has been one of the best full-backs in the world for a number of years and brings real quality on both sides of the ball with his attacking ability, kicking game, positioning and bravery. 

“He adds further strength and experience to our squad and will not only strengthen us on the pitch but will be a key role model and leader for some of the young talent coming through in the back three.

“It is important that we have strength and depth across the board and we will continue to add quality to our squad when available.”

Williams came through the system at Waunarlwydd RFC before making a breakthrough at Llanelli and the Scarlets, where he has made 115 appearances during two stints, most recently in the New Year’s Day victory over the Ospreys.

The 30-year-old also starred during a two-year spell at Saracens, in which he scored 21 tries in 31 appearances and was integral in the English club’s 2018-19 Premiership and European titles.

He has been equally important on the international stage, scoring 16 tries in 72 Tests for Wales, where he has featured in two Rugby World Cups and won a Six Nations Grand Slam, while he has twice toured with the Lions, earning five Test caps.

Williams is now excited to embark on a new chapter in his illustrious career and hopes the move to Cardiff will ensure he remains at the top of his game for years to come.

He said: “I’m really excited to link up with Cardiff in the summer but remain very grateful to the Scarlets, who have given me so many opportunities in the game, and I’m fully committed to them for the rest of the season.

“I have lots of fond memories there but, at this stage of my career, I feel I need a change of scenery and environment to ensure I can stay at the top of my game.

“Cardiff have really impressed me recently and it feels like they are building something special. I have a lot of good friends there from the Wales squad and they cannot talk highly enough of the environment and Dai Young has convinced me that Cardiff is the best place for me to further my career.

“They have an enormous amount of talent in the squad, complimented by some really exciting young players, and the competition for places will be fierce but I am looking forward to playing my part and I am excited to see what we can achieve.”

URC

Dragons confirm signature of Ulster star

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Wales international hooker Bradley Roberts will officially become a Dragon after signing a long-term deal with the Men of Gwent.

The front row ace – currently part of the Wales squad for the upcoming Six Nations – will join the region this summer from Irish province Ulster Rugby.

Roberts made his international debut for Wales against South Africa in the 2021 Autumn Nations Series.  

The 26-year-old heads back to Wales having previously spent a season with RGC in the Welsh Premiership and will look to continue his eye-catching development with Dean Ryan’s men.

“We’re really pleased that Bradley will join us and that he sees Dragons as the right environment for him to keep improving,” said Dean Ryan, Director of Dragons Rugby.

“Bradley obviously has international aspirations, as he makes the return to Wales, and we look forward to him competing for selection from next season.” 

Roberts said: “I’m really excited by the challenge ahead of me. It’s a new opportunity and, after only a few seasons at this level, I’m determined to keep moving forward.

“I spoke to Dean about the Dragons and it’s a young group that are building for the future. I’m eager to add to that and be a part of that journey.

“The move to Dragons means I can also keep pushing to be part of the Wales set-up. I’ve only just started with that, and I want to add to those experiences.

“I’m looking forward to linking up with the Dragons, but for now my focus remains on Ulster, the next few months with Wales and a strong end to this season.”

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Roberts to leave Dragons & join Aussie Super Rugby franchise

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Dragons Rugby can today announce that centre Jamie Roberts will leave the region for personal reasons at the end of this month.

Roberts joined the Men of Gwent in August 2020 and has made 23 appearances in all competitions, scoring five tries.

The Wales and British & Irish Lions ace has been granted early release from his contract to move to Australia to join his Sydney-born partner, who is expecting their second child in March.

Dean Ryan, Director of Dragons Rugby, said: “We thank Jamie for his time at Dragons and the support he has given us; helping stabilise the environment and encouraging youngsters to come through.

“We fully support what has been a difficult decision for him to make. We wish him a safe trip over to Australia and look forward to welcoming him and his family back to Rodney Parade in the years to come.”

Roberts has thanked the region for understanding his request to move overseas and paid tribute to the Rodney Parade supporters for their support during his time at Dragons.

“It is with a heavy heart that I’m leaving the Dragons at the end of the month. I’d like to personally thank Dean for understanding my personal circumstances,” he said.

“As my Sydney-born partner is expecting our second child in March, we feel the best decision for our family is to be surrounded by her support network in Sydney during this period.

“Although it’ll be difficult leaving, I do so with many fond memories,” he added. 

“As well as enjoying wearing the jersey and playing, I’ve taken great satisfaction in supporting and witnessing the growth and development of many younger players in the squad, many of whom are no doubt destined for success in the game.

“It’s been great fun playing back at Rodney Parade, where my parents took me as a young lad growing up to watch the Black and Ambers. 

“Although supporters haven’t been able to attend as much as they’d have liked, for obvious reasons, I’d like to thank them for their support. 

“The club is nothing without its supporters, and I hope that moving forwards, the playing group can give fans lots to cheer about from the terraces.

“I wish the coaching and playing group nothing but the very best moving forward.”

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URC

Munster confirm another coaching departure

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Munster - Pixabay

Munster Rugby Defence Coach JP Ferreira will depart the province at the end of the current season.

Ferreira, who joined the province in December 2017, will join Johann van Graan in making the move to Premiership outfit Bath Rugby.

JP Ferreira said, “This has not been an easy decision to make as my family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our life in Limerick and are part of a very close-knit community.

“I have been in this role for five seasons and during this time I have enjoyed every minute of coaching at this incredible club.

“The experience I have gained and the friendships that I have made along the way will forever stay with me. The way Munster Rugby opened their arms to my family and I throughout my tenure has been outstanding and we are forever grateful to everyone that has made this journey memorable and possible.

“On a personal note, as a family with young children we have an opportunity to experience a different environment and new challenges and we feel this move is the right next step for us.

“I’m very proud of what this group has achieved, and I’m excited for the months ahead as we remain focused on the task at hand, committed to delivering success with this group of players and staff.”

Source – Munster Rugby

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