Johnny McNicholl to return to New Zealand

Rob LloydNews

Scarlets have agreed to Johnny McNicholl’s request to be released from his contract to take up a playing opportunity in New Zealand.

McNicholl, 33, made 130 appearances for the Scarlets over eight seasons, scoring 57 tries, including one on his debut against Leinster in 2016. He also played 10 times for Wales.

He said: “It  has been an emotional few days for me and my family. I have loved my time at the Scarlets.

“I am grateful for the club’s understanding in allowing me to be released from my contract. We have family back home in New Zealand and that played a big part in this decision.

“I have had so many highlights during my time at the Scarlets; making my debut at Parc y Scarlets, winning the league in my first season and being part of a squad that reached two European semi-finals.

“I am going to miss the place and would like to wish Dwayne, the players and staff all the best for the future. There is some fantastic young talent coming through, which is exciting for the club moving forward.

“Scarlets will always hold a special place for me and my family and I look forward to returning as a fan in the future.” 

Scarlets Head Coach Dwayne Peel said: “When Johnny told the boys of his decision, it was clear how much the Scarlets meant to him. He has been a superb Scarlet, one of the best finishers in the competition for a number of years and a player with the type of X-factor who could produce some magic from anywhere. 

“He has been a brilliant role model for the younger players and is also a great bloke, who has been a big part of the group. Everyone here wishes him, Grace and the girls all the best for their move back to New Zealand and I am sure all our fans will remember Johnny fondly for what he achieved in a Scarlets jersey.”

General Manager of Rugby Jon Daniels added: “Johnny has been a great Scarlet, someone who came here eight years ago and made an instant impact. His professionalism, mindset and work ethic is an example to all the young players in the squad and we wish him and his family well for their return home.”