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."
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
After a series of contract announcements last week, hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest Gloucester Rugby player to commit to a new contract at the club and told GRTV how much he enjoys playing in the Cherry and White of Gloucester.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.