Jersey RFC have confirmed the signings of two players from the Scarlets in Wales – Regan King and Kieran Hardy.
A capped All Black early in his career, and recognised as one of the most talented threequarters in the game while playing at the top level of domestic rugby in Wales and France, King will be parading his skills as part of the Jersey midfield in 2016/17. Young scrum-half Hardy will also be making the move from Scarlets to Reds in time for pre-season training to commence in June.
King, 35, played for Waikato Chiefs in his native New Zealand at the start of his professional career and represented the All Blacks against Wales in Cardiff in 2002, scoring a try in the 43-17 victory. After a short spell with Stade Français he moved to Llanelli in 2005 and became a focal point of the Scarlets midfield.
After transferring to Clermont Auvergne in 2011 and playing around 70 Top 14 and Heineken Cup games over the next three seasons, King returned to west Wales in 2014. In total he has made more than 140 appearances for the Scarlets, scoring 35 tries, and last August he was named man-of-the-match after the pre-season fixture between Jersey and the Scarlets at St Peter.
Jersey’s Head Coach, Harvey Biljon, admitted he was thrilled to have clinched King’s signing.
“Regan is a fantastically gifted player who will be the perfect addition to our squad, helping to bring on the likes of Brendan Cope and Sam Katz, and offering a different perspective to our backs, particularly in terms of their attacking skills,” he said.
“People will talk about Regan’s age, but that’s not an issue for me – he has made well over 20 appearances for the Scarlets this season and has expressed real enthusiasm about playing for Jersey once we get next season underway.”
Regan King added: “From playing Jersey in pre-season you could see there was a lot of potential and I believe the results this season back that up – being only two wins from making the play-offs was a significant achievement. I’m seeking to add something to the squad to help the club push on next season and am really looking forward to getting started.”
Hailing from Pontyberem in west Wales, 20-year-old Hardy played for Wales Under 20s in the RBS 6 Nations and Junior World Cup in 2015, having previously played for his country at both Under 16 and Under 18 levels. He made his senior debut for the Scarlets in a LV Cup match against Northampton Saints in November 2014.
Hardy has also represented Carmarthen Quins in the Welsh Principality Premiership, Swalec Welsh Cup and British & Irish Cup. He featured in both B&I matches against Jersey in 2014/15, and his final match for Carmarthen was Sunday’s Swalec Cup final against Llandovery, in which the Quins were defeated 25-18.
Biljon added: “Kieran is an exciting young prospect who I’ve watched closely – he impressed me in our B&I games against Carmarthen last season. He has great core skills for a scrum-half and playing in the Championship should help to take his career to the next level.”
After claiming the highest finish of their four Greene King IPA Championship seasons to date – sixth in this season’s final rankings – Jersey will finish the 2015/16 season with the annual Ipes Siam Cup clash against Channel Island rivals Guernsey this Saturday (k-o 2.30pm).