Media Watch: Williams poised for Scarlets return?

Will Jennings
21 December 2019

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It’s the big derby weekend in the Guinness PRO14 and there’s certainly no shortage of speculation circulating as the battle for bragging rights really starts to hot up.

Leinster toppled Ulster in a chaotic Conference A clash on Friday night but where else to start today’s Media Watch than Scarlets, who are reportedly set to secure the landmark signing of Wales international Liam Williams in a deal worth an annual £400,000 for the sought-after full-back.

The 28-year-old departed the Welsh side for current Champions Cup holders Saracens in 2017, enjoying two successful seasons in London but is allegedly opting for a return to Wales with his contract expiring this summer.

And in doing so he may have also snubbed interest from Ospreys, joining forces with Brad Mooar and his players at the end of this season after – if he recovers from an ankle injury – representing Wayne Pivac’s side in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.

Staying in Wales, it’s being reported that head coach-less Ospreys are edging closer to signing Williams’ fellow Welsh international Ross Moriarty in what would represent a considerable coup for the region.

Wales Online claim it’s Ospreys who are leading the race to secure the 25-year-old’s services, fending off interest from the English Premiership and France as they bid to end their trophy drought that now stands at over seven years.

Over to Ireland next, and it’s Conor Fitzgerald who is making waves on the Emerald Isle as Munster’s Shane Daly hailed the influence of the Connacht fly-half since he left Munster’s academy in 2018.

And for Johann van Graan’s Munstermen there have been some interesting off-field developments, as former CEO Garrett Fitzgerald was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Limerick.

It’s the big 1872 Cup clash later today so up to Scotland next, where former Glasgow Warriors man and current Edinburgh centre Mark Bennett says he’s relishing a return to Scotstoun for Richard Cockerill’s side.

The 26-year-old moved to the Scottish capital in 2017 and is enjoying an impressive Guinness PRO14 season so far. He will be hoping to come back to haunt his old friends on a seismic weekend of action.

And we go full circle in finishing back in Wales, where Dragons were dealt a significant injury blow ahead of their clash with Scarlets as Ollie Griffiths – who signed a new deal with the region earlier this week – was ruled out of the derby.

But Dean Ryan’s side have been boosted by the return of that man Moriarty, whose future may remain uncertain but will without doubt be eager to make his mark off the bench in Newport later today.

That’s all from today’s Media Watch but the derby weekend is only just beginning, so fasten your seatbelts for what promises to be a scintillating Saturday of Guinness PRO14 action.

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