RaboDirect PRO12
Rees swaps Scarlets for Blues
ESPN Staff
January 25, 2013
Scarlets' hooker Matthew Rees looks on as his team take on Exeter Chiefs, Scarlets v Exeter Chiefs, Heineken Cup, Park y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wales, December 8, 2012
Matthews Rees will be wearing the blue of Cardiff next term © Getty Images
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British & Irish Lions hooker Matthew Rees will leave the Scarlets at the end of the season and will join their RaboDirect PRO12 rivals Cardiff Blues.

Rees has been at the region for nine years and has managed to win 57 caps for Wales. He also toured with the Lions in 2009 and played in all three Tests. But aged 32, Rees has opted to swap Llanelli for Cardiff and will link up with his new team in time for the 2013-14 campaign.

And Rees is adamant that he is leaving the Scarlets in a good place. "There's a number of talented young forwards coming up through our Scarlets ranks now who will take their opportunities and are already progressing well," Rees said. "It's also positive to see so many Scarlets selected for international honours, both at senior, U20's and U18s and says a lot about how much this region does to develop international quality players.

"I'm proud of all that has been achieved during my time at the Scarlets and it was a huge honour to captain the team for two seasons. There's plenty in our squad and all to play for this season in the league. I'll give my all to the Scarlets campaign as we target a play-off place in the PRO12 after such a strong start this season."

The news will come as a blow to coach Simon Easterby but he has wished Rees well at his new side. "Matthew has contributed a great deal to the region during his years with us; he has set high standards, made a mark for others to aspire to and been a strong mentor for a number of our younger forwards in recent years pushing their development forward," Easterby said. "He leaves with our sincere thanks, gratitude as a region and respect for all he has done and achieved in a Scarlets shirt.

"He has been a key part of our team, has been a true Scarlet in terms of his commitment and imparted experience, knowledge and influence on this team as it developed over the past three or four years - as one of our most senior players. He moves on having set a standard which others now aspire to and helped nurture many of up and coming talent forwards in the squad today."

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