Watkins heads to Gloucester
Wales centre to add experience to the backline at Kingsholm
By Tony Curtis. Last Updated: 12/05/08 5:58pm
Watkins: Joining Gloucester
Gloucester have beefed up their backline for next season with the signing of Matthew Watkins from Llanelli.
The Wales centre has agreed a two-year deal at Kingsholm and will join a glittering array of international talent in the backs.
Gloucester already have the likes of Chris Paterson, Ryan Lamb, Anthony Allen, James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Olly Morgan and Lesley Vainikolo fighting it out for places in the backs, with England international Olly Barkley set to join from Bath in the summer.
However Gloucester coach Dean Ryan believes Watkins, who has scored 33 tries in 123 appearances for the Scarlets, will bring vital experience to his side.
Ryan said: "Matthew has a proven pedigree as a top-class outside centre and he will bring experience, big-game expertise and first-class attitude to our squad.
"We believe his addition to the squad will greatly enhance our options and build further on a group that is progressing really well.
"At Gloucester we are promoting an environment where players have to fight for their places and Matthew's addition emphasises that. I am really pleased he has decided to join us because he was in demand by a number of clubs and for him to choose Gloucester affirms the direction in which we are heading."
Waktins departs Llanelli midway through a three-year deal, however despite enjoying his time at the Scarlets the chance to join Gloucester was too good to turn down.
He said: "I would like to thank everyone at Llanelli for their help and support during my time at Stradey Park. They are a fantastic club and I wish them every success in the future.
"When the opportunity arose for me to meet with Dean Ryan and look at the set-up in place at Gloucester and their outstanding training facilities at Hartpury College, I knew it was simply too good to refuse.
"When you talk of massive clubs in England and Europe, Gloucester are right up there and I am very fortunate that I now have the opportunity to test myself with them.
"Their ambition is to be challenging regularly for honours and that is why this move is of such importance to me. It is a fantastic opportunity to take my career in a new and fresh direction and I cannot wait to get started."