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Neath coach Lyn Jones with BBC Wales' Gareth Lewis
"Gareth is a great signing for us"
 real 28k

Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Llewellyn returns to Gnoll
Gareth Llewellyn
Leading from the front: Gareth Llewellyn will return from Harlequins to skipper Neath
Former Wales second-row Gareth Llewellyn has re-signed for his former club Neath from London side Harlequins.

Llewellyn, who left for London in 1996, after Neath had won the Welsh league for the second time, will return to The Gnoll as skipper.

The thirty-one year old enjoyed an illustrious career for Wales, winning 64 caps, a record for a Welsh second-row and scoring five tries.

"The plan was always to come back, whether to play or to live I was not sure, but I knew I would come back," said Llewellyn.


It was 20% inspiration and 80% lies
  Neath coach Lyn Jones

Neath coach Lyn Jones was delighted with his new squad member.

"Gareth has a big following at the club and has the proven Neath mentality, he will lead Neath to better things," Jones said.

"When asked how the Welsh All Blacks had lured Llewellyn back from London, Jones joked, "it was 20% inspiration and 80% lies."

He then added, "it did not take a lot of work, Gareth has strong feelings for the club and we have a few competitive characters here who want to take Neath to the top."

Neath also announced the signing of former Llanelli full-back Darryl Williams.


Our goal this year is definitely qualification for the Heineken Cup next season
  Neath skipper, Gareth Llewellyn

Potential

Neath have hit the headlines over the last week after speculation surrounding their financial situation, but the differences between wealthy Harlequins and Llewellyn's new club were not that great.

"Harlequins are very strong and have huge potential, but throwing money at everything is not always the answer," said Llewellyn.

"On the other side of the coin, Neath are not as financially strong, but on the field there is not a lot of difference between the two sides."

Heineken Cup

Neath's failure to qualify for this season's Heineken Cup has cost the club an estimated 150,000.

"Our goal this year is definitely qualification for the Heineken Cup next season," said Llewellyn.

The supporters forum, held at the club on Thursday night and chaired by Llewellyn and Jones was the fourth since the old Neath club first hit financial difficulties.

"It was conducted in good spirits and good humour and the supporters wanted to know the playing potential of the squad," said Jones.

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