Leigh Halfpenny pens national dual contract with Scarlets and Welsh Rugby Union

British and Irish Lions Leigh Halfpenny has signed a deal with Scarlets
British and Irish Lions Leigh Halfpenny has signed a deal with Scarlets

Welsh Rugby Union has confirmed that fullback Leigh Halfpenny has penned a three year deal with Pro 12 side Scarlets.

The 28-year-old, who was with Cardiff Blues between 2008 and 2014, moved to French side Toulon for three seasons with his contract expiring at the end of the 2016/17 season. Even though English Premiership sides Wasps and Bath had a close eye on Halfpenny's movement, it was Scarlets, who pounced on the opportunity by offering a three year contract to the British and Irish Lions star.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is delighted with the news of Halfpenny returning back to the country.

"It is great news for Welsh rugby that Leigh Halfpenny is returning to play his rugby in Wales," said Gatland.

"The NDC (national dual contract) system helps us to bring these players back and I look forward to seeing him play for the Scarlets."

Meanwhile, Halfpenny thanked Scarlets and WRU for the support offered to him.

"I'm delighted to be coming back to play in Wales," said Halfpenny.

"I would like to thank the Scarlets and the WRU for giving me the opportunity to sign a national dual contract and can't wait to get started."

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips believes Halfpenny's return is a big boost to Welsh rugby.

"I'm delighted that we are able to announce Leigh's return to Wales," said Phillips.

"His signature rubber stamps our commitment to the game here in Wales by having our best players playing their rugby on home soil which is vital to the future health of our game.

"We have made no secret of that and the importance both on and off the field at regional and national level in Welsh players playing their rugby in Wales."

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