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Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Scarlets star King to join Clermont Auvergne

Regan King
King was voted best outside centre in the world by a magazine in 2006

New Zealander Regan King will leave the Scarlets at the end of the season to join French giants Clermont Auvergne.

The 30-year-old centre will end his six-year stay at Llanelli and join the French champions on a three-year deal once his contract expires this summer.

King, a once-capped All Black, has been a Scarlets mainstay but will now join Wales full-back Lee Byrne at Clermont.

"At this stage in my career, the offer from France was one that was right for me and my family," said King.

King helped inspire the Scarlets to the semi-final of the Heineken Cup in 2007 following his move to south Wales from Stade Francais in 2005.

He was named in the Planet Rugby 2006 World XV due to his performances for the Welsh region but his Scarlets career has been hampered by a career-threatening hamstring injury.

King is renowned for his superb handling skills and agility and is the second signing from a Welsh region in 24 hours by big-spending Clermont as British and Irish Lions star Byrne will also move to France in the summer.

"It's been a massive honour to be part of this great club, with its history and spirit," King said in a statement.

His contribution and experience as one of our senior players has been particularly significant in recent seasons.

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies on Regan King

"My family has always been made to feel really at home here and we've enjoyed our time in Llanelli - we've made great friends and our children were born here so it will always be a special place for us.

"You've got to admire the work being done by the Scarlets to develop great new rugby players from within this region and from what I've seen, it will be a good thing for the Scarlets future.

"It's been a tough decision to leave as I've got a real bond and affinity with the Scarlets and all the boys here as I've been here quite a while.

"It has been a pleasure to train and play alongside them and see some of the younger guys coming through so well now and many of them getting international caps."

King, who won his only All Black cap against Wales in 2002, has played 135 times for the region, scoring 185 points, while this season he has scored four tries in 19 appearances.

"Regan has been a great asset within our rugby set-up for many years now and as a player has skills and qualities which you just don't find everywhere," said Scarlets coach Nigel Davies.

"He's a true rugby talent and it's been great to see him come back strongly this season.

"His contribution and experience as one of our senior players has been particularly significant in recent seasons.

"Our backs have without doubt benefited from playing and training alongside him, appreciating the quality he brings to the game and learning from his great skills, timing and ability with the ball.

"Regan's contract with us concluded this summer and he goes with our best wishes to France where at this stage in his career he'll have some great opportunities.

"The French clubs are staking a major claim for some of the top players in Europe at this time and evidently have the budgets and resources to do so.

"We're very grateful to Regan for his contribution over the past six seasons and wish him and his family well in France."

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see also
Byrne's move to France confirmed
01 Feb 11 |  Ospreys
Centre King ruled out for a month
15 Jan 11 |  Scarlets
King deal ends Stradey exit talk
23 Jan 08 |  Scarlets
Regal King claims Magners award
09 Oct 06 |  Scarlets
King signs new Scarlets contract
21 Apr 06 |  Welsh
Scarlets sign King & Stuart-Smith
26 May 05 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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