Priestland to leave Scarlets for Bath

Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland will join English Premiership side Bath from Welsh region the Scarlets at the end of the season, the two clubs announced on Tuesday.

Bath did not announce the length of Priestland’s contract, but he is reported to have signed a two-year deal.

The 27-year-old, who has won 32 caps, becomes Bath’s second major signing for the 2015-16 campaign following the recruitment of Fiji scrum-half Niko Matawalu from Glasgow.

“My entire rugby career has been spent in Wales, and although I’ve enjoyed that time enormously, I need a new challenge,” Priestland said in a statement released by Bath.

“I’ve been really impressed watching Bath develop over the past couple of years into one of the most exciting teams in the country.

“It’s a world-class organisation in every sense, including the players, coaching staff and facilities.”

The move brings to an end Priestland’s 10-year stint at Scarlets, where he graduated from the youth ranks.

He will vie for the number 10 shirt at the Recreation Ground with England’s George Ford.

Bath head coach Mike Ford said: “Rhys is a fantastic player with an impressive pedigree — his record with Scarlets and Wales speaks for itself.

“He’s got a wide range of talents that suit our game-plan, and he will make a great addition to our squad.”

Priestland was not included in the group of Wales players to have been offered national dual contracts, which are jointly allocated by the Welsh Rugby Union and Wales’ four professional regions.

The six players to have signed up so far are national team captain Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Jake Ball, Rhodri Jones, Hallam Amos and Tyler Morgan.

In a separate statement released by the Scarlets, Priestland said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the Scarlets. There have been some great highs and some heartfelt lows.

“I will certainly miss the place and will be leaving some great friends behind, but there’s a long way to go this season.”

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