Scarlets statement: Llanelli RFC

Rob LloydNews

To our supporters

Scarlets Rugby would like to clarify our position on Llanelli RFC.

As you are aware, last season, the difficult decision was made to withdraw Llanelli from the Indigo Premiership because of a lack of playing resources to fulfil the requirements of the expanded competition.

Since the inception of regional rugby in 2003, Llanelli has been an important part of our development pathway, a team that has provided the springboard for players who have gone on to represent the Scarlets, Wales and the British & Irish Lions.

However,  the enforced reduction in the Scarlets squad this season, together with the ongoing financial challenges associated with professional rugby, has meant that we are unable to provide the playing and back-room resources that Llanelli would require in the Welsh Rugby Union’s new Elite Domestic Competition (EDC) for next season.

We feel it is important to stress that the Scarlets team that is playing in the United Rugby Championship and European Challenge Cup is, and always has been, the same team that has carried our proud heritage and tradition since 1872.  It is the same Scarlets team that brought us the likes of Albert Jenkins, Lewis Jones, Delme Thomas, Phil Bennett, Ray Gravell, Scott Quinnell, Stephen Jones, our current president Derek Quinnell and head coach Dwayne Peel.

The name may have evolved over the years from Llanelli to Llanelli Scarlets to Scarlets, but we have remained a rugby club that represents a passionate region embracing the counties of Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Our history is woven into the fabric of Parc y Scarlets, a fantastic stadium we have called home since the move from Stradey Park in 2008.

Dwayne spoke passionately to members of Crys 16 at a fans forum recently, emphasising that the current generation of Scarlets are firmly aware of the history of the jersey they are now wearing. The heritage of our club remains at the heart of everything we do and we will be consulting with our fans, including Crys 16, our Supporters Club and all our stakeholders to look at ways of recognising the Llanelli name.

While Llanelli RFC did not make an application for the new Elite Domestic Competition next season, Scarlets have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with both Llandovery RFC and Carmarthen Quins RFC to support and underpin the development requirements of the professional game within the Scarlets region and have fully supported their applications for the EDC.

Carmarthen and Llandovery will form a critical part of our player development pathway which has been reviewed over the last 12 months to ensure a robust route from Dewar Shield schoolboys rugby through to our senior team. This structure will also support both clubs in their own aspirations. 

We all have the same focus, desire and commitment to bring through the next crop of Scarlets players.

Scarlets President Derek Quinnell said: “Rugby is experiencing challenging financial times and it is sad to see what has happened to some proud professional clubs in England. We too have had to make tough decisions about our future and one of those has been Llanelli RFC, who since 2003, have been one of our three development teams within our region.

“I am a proud former Scarlets player who was fortunate to wear the jersey on 369 occasions and have some incredible memories of my playing days at Stradey Park. The team that those fans supported so passionately on the Tanner Banc is the one wearing Scarlet today in the URC and in Europe.

“In the current climate, we know it is more important than ever for us to be bringing through our own home-grown talent and Scarlets staff will be working closely with Llandovery and Carmarthen Quins to ensure our young players have the route to professional rugby that they need.

“Over the last couple of years, we have seen exciting local talent like Joe Roberts, Eddie James, Tom Rogers, Archie Hughes, Jac Price and others take their opportunities and I am sure we are going to see many more follow a similar path over the coming seasons.”