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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 15:20 GMT
Bowen joins Neath from Scarlets
Gareth Bowen
Gareth Bowen had slipped down the pecking order at Stradey Park
Outside-half Gareth Bowen has joined Welsh Premier champions Neath following the early termination of his Llanelli Scarlets contract earlier this week.

Stephen Jones' return to Stradey Park and the emergence of Ceiron Thomas this season left Aberdare-man Bowen, 27, short of first-team opportunities.

"It is a key position for us," said Neath chairman Geraint Hawkes.

"We were looking for a special player to fill the void left by James Hook's step up to the Ospreys."

Bowen, who had earlier stints at Bedford, Bridgend and Bristol, made his debut for Llanelli in 2001.

He played 72 games for the Scarlets and made 67 appearances for Llanelli, scoring 1,218 points.

Scarlets chief executive Stuart Gallacher said: "I would like to put on record our thanks to Gareth for his great service to both Llanelli RFC and the Scarlets and we wish him well in his future career."

Leeds revealed they enquired about Bowen some weeks ago, but he has chosen to stay in Wales.

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