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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Wales prop signs for Scarlets

Rhys Thomas
Thomas was born in South Africa and has won seven Wales caps

Wales prop Rhys Thomas is to join the Scarlets from Newport Gwent Dragons, who have signed New Zealander Ben Castle to replace him.

Thomas, 26, has signed a three-year deal starting from July, while Castle will be at Rodney Parade for a similar length of time.

Tight-head Thomas has played 119 games for the Dragons and seven for Wales.

Castle, 29, joins the Dragons from Super 14 side Western Force, having also played for Waikato Chiefs.

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies said of Thomas' signing: "He will add strength and skill to our pack as we prepare for a big season.


"Importantly, he adds to our pool of Welsh talent and I know that his work rate and power will make him a favourite with Scarlets supporters.

"He's determined to progress as a Heineken Cup and international player so I think we can expect big things of him in 2009-10 and beyond.

"We're firming up the look of the squad for next season with plenty for supporters to look forward to.

"Our future is all about responsible decisions on the playing side and cementing a balanced squad that can perform well in Europe.

"To do that, we've made it a priority to strengthen key areas of our group with quality players. Adding Rhys to our line-up, is a good example of that."

It's my aim to help get the Scarlets back into the later stages of the Heineken Cup and perhaps, to winning the Magners League

Rhys Thomas

The Thomas move has been in the pipeline for some months and he said: "I've worked with Nigel Davies before, when he was part of the Wales set-up and I'm greatly looking forward to working with him again on a daily basis.

"It's my aim to help get the Scarlets back into the later stages of the Heineken Cup and perhaps, to winning the Magners League.

"I think that being at the Scarlets will also help me push ahead with my international ambitions."

Dragons head coach Paul Turner said of Castle: "He has good leadership skills having captained Bay of Plenty and is also familiar with our captain Tom Willis from their Chiefs' days. He will be a solid addition in the make-up of the Dragons squad."

He also represented the Junior All Blacks against Australia A at the Sydney Football Stadium in 2005.

Castle, 29, said: "I am looking forward to joining up with Tom Willis again, who I played alongside in the Chiefs for five years."

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see also
Italy 15-20 Wales
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Prop Thomas targeting Italy scrum
09 Mar 09 |  Welsh
Turner upset at Thomas 'transfer'
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
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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