Scarlets hooker Ken Owens has inked a new deal at the RaboDirect PRO12 outfit, it was announced on Monday.
Owens has appeared 135 times in a Scarlets shirt with 25 points to his name has committed his future as a senior figure in the squad as the region looks to build and strengthen its pack.
A significant contract signing for the Scarlets, Owens, 26, is one of a number of key players in their international ascendancy who have come through the Scarlets development system with Owens starting out his regional rugby career as part of the Scarlets Academy aged 18.
Owens joined the region in 2004 experiencing Scarlets and Wales age-grade rugby and gained international honours at U19 level during the five match Grand Slam winning for Wales in the 2005/06 season. In February 2007, he lined up as a member of the newly formed Wales U20s and scored a try in Wales first encounter in the 2007 Six Nations against Ireland.
"It was important to have secured Ken for the future as a key player to build our squad around. We are delighted that someone of his ability, experience and with genuine passion for our region has committed to remain with us in the seasons to come," head coach Simon Easterby told the Scarlets website.
"He has been a committed Scarlet throughout and goes into his eighth season with us next year, having shown all the qualities as a player that we want to retain and build throughout our squad; he works hard, is ambitious, competitive and works well within the Scarlets team dynamic and sets high standards for himself and others. He has fought hard to get into the international stage and deserves the positive recognition he is currently getting for his role within the Wales national squad.
"Given the current climate, it says a lot about Ken's loyalty to our region and understanding of what we want to achieve as a Scarlets squad and rugby environment. It was important for Ken to stay at the Scarlets to further his career within our set-up as somewhere where he knows he will play a crucial role going forward."