United Rugby Championship

Wales Legend Jonathan Davies To Depart Scarlets At End Of Season

Wales Legend Jonathan Davies To Depart Scarlets At End Of Season

Wales and Scarlets Rugby star Jonathan Davies will depart the Welsh BKT United Rugby Championship club at the end of the season but will keep playing.

May 8, 2024 by Philip Bendon
Wales Legend Jonathan Davies To Depart Scarlets At End Of Season

One of the Scarlets’ greats, Jonathan Davies, will say farewell to the club at the end of the season.

After 16 seasons spanning two spells at the club, the man known as ‘Foxy’ will be moving on at the end of the campaign.

From Bancyfelin in Carmarthenshire, Davies has made 209 appearances in a Scarlets jersey, having made his debut for the club against Northampton Saints as an 18-year-old in 2006.

A former club captain, he was an integral member of the side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in 2016-2017, the Scarlets clinching the trophy in style thanks to a mesmeric brand of attacking rugby.

Davies went on to become one of the most decorated centers in world rugby, representing the British & Irish Lions in the test series against Australia (2013) and New Zealand (2017) - where he was player of the series. 

He also has played 96 tests for Wales, featuring on two Grand Slam-winning sides, a further two championship wins and two Rugby World Cups in New Zealand (2011) and Japan (2019). He also has captained the national side on four occasions.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s final home match against Ulster, Jonathan said: “I am going to miss this place and this group. Day to day, being around a great bunch of boys and saying you are working, you feel very privileged.

“It has been incredible to play for a team I supported when I was a young boy. I have enjoyed every minute and have some wonderful memories, but everything has to come to an end.

“I remember my first day coming into the Academy at Stradey. I remember walking into the changing room for training with the likes Vernon Cooper, Matthew Rees, Iestyn Thomas, Alix Popham - who were the ‘guvnors’ of the changing room - and putting my bag on the bench and coming in afterwards and it was on the floor; I tried another spot the next day, and the same happened. It was a great learning; myself, Ken and my generation were probably the last ones to have experience of that old school environment.”

Recalling the highlights of his Scarlets career, lifting the PRO12 trophy in Dublin in 2017 figures at the top of the list, as does playing alongside his younger brother James ‘Cubby’.

“There was a span of five or six games in which I never enjoyed rugby as much as I did during the end of that season when we won the PRO12," he added. "I have always said if we were still in European competition at that point, we would have won it.

“The rugby we played was so much fun and so natural; we were operating at a level where we didn’t really need to talk about what was expected of us. It felt as if we were operating at our highest level possible, and the talent in that group was so high it showed in the games leading up to the final and then in the final.

“Playing alongside my brother was another special moment and winning a trophy as part of the same side is something I am very proud of.”

As for the future, Jonathan has a testimonial year beginning in June and also is hoping to continue his playing career.

“I would love to see if there is another opportunity to play elsewhere, whether that be abroad or not,” he said. “I still enjoy coming to train and playing. I am always told you are a long time retired - if you feel you can add to an environment or a team, I feel I’d be stupid not to.

“The Scarlets have been a huge part of my life. When you get older, there is an appreciation of the effort that people - coaches, teammates, staff - have put into your career. The supporters here have been amazing from Day 1 as well.”

Paying tribute to one of the Scarlets’ greats, head coach Dwayne Peel said: “I played in the same game as Foxy’s debut, there was a lot of talk of this kid from Bancyfelin coming through, and when he turned up, he was more developed than some of the senior boys. He was strong and fast and you could see straight away he was something special.

“He was always destined for big things, but he has also worked tirelessly on his game to become the best No. 13 in the world and is an example to any young player who aspires to make it as a professional.

“I am sure the next few weeks will be an emotional time for him, saying his farewells. He has been a big part of this club for a long time.”

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 From the Scarlets Media Team