Welsh exodus continues as Davies heads to France
November 12, 2013
Another one heads to France ... © PA Photos
The exodus of top players from Wales has continued with Clermont Auvergne announcing the signing of Jonathan Davies on a two-year contract with the option of a further season.
Rumours which had been circulating for a few days were confirmed in the French press late on Monday with it reported Davies has ditched the Scarlets for a move to the Top 14.
"We are delighted to welcome Jonathan to the next season," Clermont's sporting director Jean-Marc Lhermet said. "His profile fits perfectly to the game we play and he will bring us a lot.
"Despite his young age, he has a huge experience of top level matches and is one of the world's best players in his position. He will be an asset to our team. Jonathan decided to leave Wales for a new adventure, and we are happy that he'll be playing in yellow and blue.
"We're sure that his class and determination will help us win new trophies in the years to come."
It is likely Davies will replace former Scarlets team-mate Regan King at Clermont with the Kiwi's contract up at the end of the season.
The news will be a major blow to the Welsh Rugby Union who had hoped extra cash it made available would help stem the number of top players heading for more lucrative deals in England and France.
The board recently offered to put leading internationals - such Davies, Sam Warburton, Alun Wyn Jones and Leigh Halfpenny - on central contracts until agreement is reached. But Davies' move will fuel speculation that the others will soon be joining him.
The Scarlets admitted keeping Davies was one of their "highest priorities since the middle of last season" but CEO Mark Davies is resigned to losing the centre.
Mark Davies said: "Whilst we have done everything in our power as a club and as a business to ensure Jon could continue to play his rugby with Scarlets, his outstanding performances on the world stage have of course meant that he has been targeted by several other major clubs with very significant resources for some considerable time.
"Jon has taken as much time as he could to consider each element of the tremendous opportunities available to him and has ultimately now had to make his decision on the best route for him as an individual at this point in his rugby career.
"Unfortunately for us that will result in Jon playing in France over the period of his next contract but we remain immensely proud of everything Jon has achieved with his region and completely respect his decision to extend his horizons and take this significant opportunity at this time."
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