Johnny McNicholl returns to New Zealand after leaving Scarlets with immediate effect

Johnny McNicholl has played 130 games for Scarlets
Johnny McNicholl has played 130 games for Scarlets

Scarlets have confirmed that Wales international Johnny McNicholl will be leaving the province with immediate effect.

The 33-year-old will be returning back to New Zealand. He qualified for Wales on residency grounds and played 10 Tests since his international debut in 2020.

McNicholl started his professional rugby career with Canterbury in 2011 and made his Super Rugby debut with Crusaders two years later. Having players close to 39 Super Rugby games, he made his move to Scarlets in 2016 and has become an integral part of the club since then.

He has overall played 130 games for Scarlets scoring 57 tries and was part of the side that claimed the United Rugby Championship title win in 2017. He played most of his career with Scarlets at wing but the departures of Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams saw him switch to fullback.

“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," he said.

“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.”