MATTHEW J. WATKINS, one of the most talented game-breakers in the Magners League, has agreed a two-year deal with Gloucester.
The Llanelli midfield star will switch to Kingsholm in the summer and has become the latest international to join Dean Ryan's squad following the announcement of Bath centre Olly Barkley's recruitment.
Watkins, 29, has been capped by Wales 18 times, and has scored 33 tries in 123 appearances since joining the Scarlets in 2002.
Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan said of the signing: "Matthew has a proven pedigree as a top-class outside centre and he will bring experience, big-game expertise and first-class attitude to our squad.
"We believe his addition to the squad will greatly enhance our options and build further on a group that is progressing really well.
"At Gloucester we are promoting an environment where players have to fight for their places and Matthew's addition emphasises that. I am really pleased he has decided to join us because he was in demand by a number of clubs and for him to choose Gloucester affirms the direction in which we are heading."
Watkins, who is leaving Llanelli midway though a three-year deal, said: "I would like to thank everyone at Llanelli for their help and support during my time at Stradey Park. They are a fantastic club and I wish them every success in the future.
"When the opportunity arose for me to meet with Dean Ryan and look at the set-up in place at Gloucester and their outstanding training facilities at Hartpury College, I knew it was simply too good to refuse.
"When you talk of massive clubs in England and Europe, Gloucester are right up there and I am very fortunate that I now have the opportunity to test myself with them.
"Their ambition is to be challenging regularly for honours and that is why this move is of such importance to me. It is a fantastic opportunity to take my career in a new and fresh direction and I cannot wait to get started."
Speaking after the 37-8 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Benetton Treviso, James Hook admitted that the Italian side made things tough for Gloucester at times but that the Cherry and Whites are happy to take the bonus point win and turn their focus to Northampton next week.
Speaking to GRTV after the game, Backs Coach Tim Taylor was happy with the squad as they cruised to victory over Treviso. The result wasn't in doubt, but the Cherry and Whites laboured to secure a crucial try bonus point.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Gloucester made it two wins from two outings in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup as they outplayed Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm to win by 37 points to 8, the bonus point try coming with the final play of the game.