Scarlets captain Ken Owens has committed his future to the Welsh region, ending speculation about a potential move away from his home side.
The 30-year-old made his first appearance for the region 11 years ago against Northampton in pre-season. His competitive bow came against the region’s opposition this weekend, Glasgow Warriors, in September 2006.
Owens is a rarity in modern professional rugby representing only the Scarlets and has made 199 appearances to date. He will join an elite group of players on his next appearance crossing the 200 milestone; former loosehead prop, and fellow front rower, Phil John is the only other player to reach the milestone at the Scarlets since rugby went regional.
The Carmarthen born hooker joined the Scarlets in 2004 through the Academy system and burst on to the scene in 2009-10 with some outstanding performances.
His first start for Wales came five years ago in the 2012 Six Nations campaign against England at Twickenham in which Wales secured the Triple Crown, on their way to the Grand Slam.
He is in his third season of captaincy at the region and will look to reach his 200th game in what will be a crucial period for the Scarlets in a hotly contested race to the PRO12 top four.
Owens said; “There has been a lot of speculation about my future at the Scarlets. As someone who was born and bred in the region and now raising a young family here I’m delighted to have committed my immediate future to the Scarlets.
“The Scarlets has been a part of my life for the last 13 years and it’s an honour to not only pull on the famous jersey but also to captain my home region.
“I have been a part of some historic moments in my time at the region and will look forward to returning after the Six Nations campaign as we look to secure a place in the top four.”
Jon Daniels, Scarlets General Manager of Rugby, said: “It is inevitable that players of Ken’s quality get linked with other clubs – indeed, I am sure there are many clubs that would love to have him.
“However, he has been a loyal and committed Scarlet for many years and we are delighted to announce that he will remain with us into the foreseeable future.
“The experience and leadership Ken brings to the environment will not only be vital to our on field performances but also in bringing on the younger players in the group.”