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Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Friday, 13 August 2010 17:10 UK

Matthew Rees captain in Scarlets triumvirate

The Scarlets unveil their new leadership trio of Stephen Jones, Matthew Rees and David Lyons (left to right)
Matthew Rees (centre) backed by Stephen Jones (left) and David Lyons

Wales and British & Irish Lions first-choice hooker Matthew Rees will skipper the Scarlets next season following the retirement of ex-captain Mark Jones.

Rees is in his sixth season at the Llanelli region, having played for Pontypridd and Celtic Warriors.

The 39-cap 29-year-old from Tonyrefail will have fellow Lion Stephen Jones as vice captain, with David Lyons taking over when the two are on Wales duty.

"We have three natural leaders," said Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies.

"They all have different qualities and strengths which will benefit our group and the mix of players we have.

With the experience I've had recently, I think it's a really good time for me to take this role

Matthew Rees

"Matthew brings a fresh, new dynamic to the captaincy. He has had great experience in recent years and has matured hugely as a player.

"His natural leadership qualities are obvious on and off the field and he sets very high standards for himself and others.

"He will bring some different strengths to the Scarlets captaincy including a mental toughness and hard edge which will be good for this squad going forward.

"He's a complete professional and exemplifies all aspects of the Scarlets values and culture. He'll have the backing and belief of everyone in the squad and I know he will do a great job for us as captain."

Rees said: "I am thrilled to have been given this honour and really looking forward to leading this Scarlets squad.

"It's been a huge couple of years for me as a player and with the experience I've had recently, I think it's a really good time for me to take this role.

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"With experienced guys like Steve and David backing me as well, I think we'll have a lot of strength and focus in getting this squad to perform to the best of its ability."

Meanwhile, the Scarlets have named their side for their opening pre-season friendly, at Gloucester on Saturday (1500 BST).

There are starts for Wales Under-20 star Scott Williams and 6ft 4ins, 17st winger George North, who both stepped up from the Scarlets academy in the summer.

Johnathan Edwards is handed the captaincy for the game with centre Gareth Maule as vice-captain in a side that mixes experience and youth.

Scarlets side to face Gloucester: Daniel Evans; George North, Gareth Maule, Scott Williams, Andy Fenby; Steven Shingler, Martin Roberts; Ben Morgan, Johnathan Edwards (capt), Damian Welch, Dominic Day, Lou Reed, Rhys Thomas, Emyr Phillips, Phil John.
Replacements: Owen Evans, Peter Edwards, Rhys Lawrence, Vernon Cooper, Nick Cudd, Richie Pugh, Gareth Davies, Joe Ajuwa, Nick Reynolds, Dale Ford.

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