Saracens fullback Liam Williams will return to Wales and rejoin his former side Scarlets at the end of the season, the two clubs announced on Thursday (Dec 26).
Williams helped Saracens to acquire the Champions Cup and Premiership double last season and was part of the Wales team who won this year’s Six Nations Grand Slam.
The 28-year-old is the first major player to announce his departure from Saracens after they were handed a 35-point deduction for breaching salary cap regulations and fined £5.36 million (US$6.95 million), a decision the club chose not to appeal.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saracens over the past three seasons,” Williams, who spent six years at Scarlets between 2011-2017, said in a statement.
“The environment has undoubtedly developed me as a player and a person. “The opportunity to return home to the Scarlets was too good to turn down and I am incredibly excited about the future.”
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Williams played four times in this year’s Rugby World Cup and scored two tries before an ankle injury ruled him out of the semi-final versus eventual champions South Africa.
Signing a player of Williams’ calibre is a significant coup for Scarlets, whose potent backline already boasts several Wales internationals such as Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell and Gareth Davies.
The 28-year-old is currently recovering from surgery to an ankle injury he sustained during the World Cup, which could make him a doubt for Wales’ Six Nations campaign, which starts on 1 February at home to Italy.
However, his Scarlets return will be welcomed by new Wales head coach Wayne Pivac. Once he is back with the region, where Williams formerly worked with the New Zealander, the full-back will be available for every Wales match and training session, which would not have been the case had he stayed in England.
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