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Sport Leigh Halfpenny, Gareth Davies and Rhys Patchell among 17 players to sign new deals at the Scarlets

18:40  05 august  2020
18:40  05 august  2020 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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Wales stars Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies and Samson Lee are among a whopping 17 players to sign new contracts with the Scarlets.

Halfpenny, Davies and Lee have also made the transition from the old National Dual Contracts and are now on Scarlets deals. However, It's though all three - certainly Halfpenny and Davies - will be part of the elite 38 players in Wales. That means 80% of their salary will be paid by the Welsh Rugby Union.

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The region made the significant announcement on Wednesday afternoon, as a number of the organisation's stalwarts also committed their futures.

So many players being announced in one go is uncommon but it shows the work that has been going on behind the scenes at Parc y Scarlets.

It would also suggest that the region have reached an agreement with their players in the pay dispute that has hung over Welsh rugby for months.

Players were being asked to take further pay cuts to mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19 but the Welsh Rugby Players' Association - negotiating on behalf of all players in Wales - were unable to reach an agreement with the Professional Rugby Board, which runs the professional game in Wales.

As such, the regions began negotiating with their own players directly and it appears to have sped up the process.

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Also committing to the region are Josh Macleod, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer, Dan Jones, Steff Hughes, Angus O’Brien, Phil Price, Steff Thomas and Josh Helps.

Meanwhile, academy products Tom Rogers, Jac Price, Morgan Jones and Joe Roberts have signed their first professional deals.

Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney said: “It is crucial that we keep building the strength and depth of our squad and these renewals are evidence of that. Players like Leigh, Gareth, Patch and Samson have proven themselves on the world stage and keeping players of that calibre at the Scarlets is vital to our ambitions of challenging for silverware.

“The Academy has produced some outstanding Scarlets over the years and continues to do so and we have high hopes for a number of our young players who are coming through and challenging the senior squad members for starting spots.

“You saw this season the impact the likes of Josh Macleod, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Steff Hughes had in the PRO14 and Europe when handed their opportunity and there are young players coming through who I’m sure will be pushing those boys hard as well.

“We feel we are in a good place as a squad. We have recruited well and retained key personnel and are looking forward to the remaining games of this season and then hitting the ground running for the 2020-21 campaign.”

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