Winger signs for Scar­lets

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Scar­lets have signed for­mer Wales in­ter­na­tional wing Tom James on a two-year con­tract.

The 32-year-old will link up with the squad next week, con­tin­u­ing an im­pres­sive ca­reer in pro­fes­sional rugby.

James played 163 games for Cardiff Blues in two spells that spanned 11 sea­sons. He also had two years with Ex­eter Chiefs in the English Premier­ship.

A pow­er­ful, pacy runner, he was capped 12 times for Wales, mak­ing his last Test ap­pear­ance against Scot­land in the 2016 Six Na­tions.

James took a break from the pro­fes­sional game at the end of 2017 and has since spo­ken openly about his bat­tle with de­pres­sion.

He re­turned to rugby last sea­son, mak­ing a lone ap­pear­ance for the Blues and fea­tur­ing for Merthyr, Pon­typridd and Cardiff in the Welsh Premier­ship.

He is now de­ter­mined to make an­other mark on the re­gional game down west and has been feel­ing in great shape ahead of the com­ing sea­son.

“I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “I am ab­so­lutely de­lighted to have se­cured this move with the Scar­lets.

“At the end of last sea­son I felt I still had plenty to of­fer pro­fes­sional rugby but the op­por­tu­nity didn’t come at the Blues.

“I have worked hard in the off-sea­son, feel in good shape and the hunger is there again af­ter a tough couple of years.

“This is an ex­cit­ing move for me, es­pe­cially with the way the Scar­lets play the game, and hope­fully I can also of­fer my ex­pe­ri­ence to the younger play­ers in the squad.

“I want to prove to peo­ple that Tom James is back.”

James will join a po­tent at­tack­ing pool of back-three tal­ent at Parc y Scar­lets.

“Tom is a high-qual­ity ac­qui­si­tion for us,” said Scar­lets gen­eral man­ager of rugby Jon Daniels.

“He has a huge amount of ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­fes­sional rugby, holds the try-scor­ing record for the Blues and was in the Wales squad just a couple of years ago.

“As well as be­ing a proven try-scorer, he will give us a pow­er­ful, phys­i­cal pres­ence com­ing off the wing.

“He came in for some fit­ness test­ing with us and was one of the top per­form­ers in the squad.

“With 14 play­ers in Wales’s World Cup train­ing squad it is go­ing to test the depth of our squad more than any other, so to be able to bring in an in­ter­na­tional player as cover as well as some­one who will be chal­leng­ing for a start­ing spot when those play­ers re­turn is in­valu­able.

“We are look­ing for­ward to welcoming Tom to Parc y Scar­lets next week.”

Tom James in ac­tion for Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park last year.

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