Scarlets confirm Halfpenny coup

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has returned home to join Scarlets on a three-year National Dual Contract.

Halfpenny was linked with a host of clubs after Toulon opted against offering the British and Irish Lion a new deal.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the 28-year-old former Cardiff Blues man has signed for the Pro12 champions after three years in France.

"I'm delighted to be coming back to play in Wales," said Halfpenny. "I would like to thank the Scarlets and the WRU [Welsh Rugby Union] for giving me the opportunity to sign a National Dual Contract and can't wait to get started."

The WRU will reportedly pay 60 per cent of Halfpenny's salary.

Halfpenny's homecoming was welcomed by Wales head coach Warren Gatland after months of speculation over his future.

"It is great news for Welsh rugby that Leigh Halfpenny is returning to play his rugby in Wales," said Gatland. "The NDC system helps us to bring these players back and I look forward to seeing him play for the Scarlets."

Halfpenny's decision to make the switch to Scarlets is a major tonic for head coach Wayne Pivac, who will attempt to mastermind more glory in an expanded Pro14 and Europe this season.

"Leigh joining is great news for the club, the supporters, the team and the region as a whole," said Pivac.

"With the experience of Liam [Williams] and DTH [van der Merwe] moving on at the end of last season we've added some new players to the squad, some exciting young talent, and a guy like Leigh brings a lot of experience to the squad that he will share with those young players.

"It has worked out really well and we look forward to welcoming Leigh and he's really excited to be joining the Scarlets because of the way we play the game."

Halfpenny will come up against his former club Toulon in European Champions Cup Pool 5.

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