Wales: Ospreys sign Owen Williams, while Dragons confirm Will Rowlands departure

Wales and dragons lock Will Rowlands Credit: Alamy
Wales and dragons lock Will Rowlands Credit: Alamy

The Ospreys have announced the signing of Owen Williams on a short-term deal, while the Dragons are set to lose Will Rowlands at the end of the season.

Owen Williams joins the Ospreys as an injury replacement for Gareth Anscombe, who picked up an injury during Wales’ Autumn Nations Series campaign. 

The ex-Worcester Warriors playmaker will provide Ospreys with cover at flyhalf as veteran Stephen Myler is also nursing an injury.

Williams to improve Ospreys

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth welcomed the arrival of the three Test cap international and said that Williams would improve the squad.

“For us to compete at the highest level, it is hugely important that we have quality depth where we need it. Signing Owen not only provides injury cover for us but also improves us as a group,” Booth said

“Jack Walsh has done a great job stepping up at 10 in some huge games for us over the last few weeks, but ultimately with Gareth’s injury, we needed to reinforce in that area.”

Booth added that Williams’ versatility and experience is another positive for the Ospreys.

“Owen can play 10 or 12 and brings a wealth of experience with him from his time in the Premiership. I have no doubt that he will make a positive impact in a variety of areas for us,” he said.

Keen to be back in Wales

Williams has not played since Worcester Warriors went into administration and expressed his excitement to get back out on the pitch with his new teammates.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started here; the Ospreys have a rich history and a great squad that are capable of going on and becoming a real force,” Williams said.

“I spoke with the coach before making my decision, and it was clear to me that he had a plan for how I will fit into the wider vision for the team going forward. It’s been a while since I’ve played my rugby in Wales, but I can’t wait to be back in the region where it all started for me.”

Rowlands to leave Dragons

While the Ospreys have announced a new signing, rivals Dragons have confirmed the upcoming departure of one of their star players.

The club confirmed that lock Will Rowlands will leave the club at the end of the current season. The Wales international joined the Dragons ahead of the 2021/22 season and has made 16 appearances for the side since.

The Dragons stated that Rowlands ‘has agreed terms with a club outside of Wales for the 23/24 season’, with Racing 92 widely believed to be his next destination.

Test career put on hold

The decision to leave Wales means that the 31-year-old will not be eligible for Test selection after the next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

Rowlands said: “I am sad to be leaving Dragons RFC at the end of this season but would like to thank everyone involved with the club for their support over the past 18 months.

“It has been a pleasure to play at Rodney Parade, and I know that the future is bright for this club. It’s home to some truly talented players, and I really believe in the vision of Dai and the other coaches.

“I have no doubt that we are just beginning to see the seeds of that in the performances of the team and that they will go from strength to strength.

“It is still my great hope that I will be able to represent my country in the World Cup 2023 if called upon.”

Dai Flanagan, Head Coach of Dragons RFC, commented: “We’re obviously disappointed to be losing a player of Will’s quality, but despite the best efforts of ourselves, Will’s representative and the WRU over the last 12 months or so, we were unable to reach agreement on terms for the future.

“Since arriving in Gwent, Will has been a hugely positive influence on our group, captaining the side and being named Wales’ player of the year.

“We know that he’ll continue to give his absolute all to the club for the remainder of his time with us and he will always be welcome at Rodney Parade.”

READ MORE: Five reasons why Wayne Pivac had to go

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