THE Scarlets' pre-season training programme has been bolstered by the arrival of Wales international prop Rhys Thomas.
After his first training session with his new teammates, the former Newport Gwent Dragons prop said: "All the boys have been very good to me. Fortunately, I knew most of them before I arrived due to playing against them over the years and being involved with the Wales squad.
"All the way through the Scarlets squad there are exciting players, including the boys coming back from the Lions tour and the boys who've been away with Wales.
"Hopefully, I'll bring an extra physical edge to the team, some dynamism in the loose and new strength in the scrum. The main reasons I've joined the Scarlets include the fact that being here gives me a chance to play regularly in a good team, to improve my own game and hopefully to win more Wales caps.
"The stadium's a great facility - it's beautiful to look at even when you're just driving in. The pitch is outstanding, the gym's brilliant and the indoor training barn is great to have because of Wales's variable weather."
The 19st 11lb 26-year-old tight-head played more than 120 games for the Dragons following his debut around six years ago. Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies said: "Rhys is determined to progress as a Heineken Cup and international player so we can expect big things of him in 2009-10 and beyond.
"He adds strength and skill to our pack and, importantly, adds to our growing pool of Welsh talent. His workrate and power will make him a favourite with Scarlets supporters.
"We're firming up the look of the squad with plenty for supporters to look forward to. Adding Rhys to our line-up is a good move."
Thomas, a member of Warren Gatland's 2009 RBS Nations squad, said: "The Scarlets have a strong tradition of being successful and they have a group of talented players and coaches. I've worked with Nigel Davies before, when he was part of the Wales set-up, and I'm greatly looking forward to working with him again on a daily basis.
"It's my aim to help get the Scarlets back into the later stages of the Heineken Cup and perhaps, to winning the Magners League."
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
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Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
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Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
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