Gavin Henson has turned his back on a shock move to rugby league by signing a three-year deal with the new Swansea-Neath province.
The 21-year-old Swansea star, named World Young Player of the Year in 2001, had attracted interest from Widnes as well as the Zurich Premiership but has opted to stay in Wales.
Henson has had another mixed season at St Helen's having been in and out of the Swansea team during a miserable league and cup campaign but then kicked all the points for Wales Under-21s in their Grand Slam victory in France at the end of March.
Nevertheless Neath boss Mike Cuddy, expected to take up a senior role in the West Glamorgan province, admitted it was a major boost for the region to hold onto the prodigious outside-half.
"It's obviously good news to keep a hold of someone with the talent and youth of Gavin," said Cuddy.
"Everyone is trying to hold onto their best assets and Neath and Swansea have produced a lot of talent for the region so the last thing we want to do is lose that, especially of Gavin's age.
"He is still young, has immense talent and a bright future.
"We have got the majority of the provincial squad in place though there are still a few lose ends to tie up with the remaining few players. Hopefully we will be in a position to confirm the entire squad sometime next week."
Cuddy and coach Lyn Jones have safeguarded the services of British Lion pair Colin Charvis and Scott Gibbs though Arwel Thomas is not expected to stay at the West Glamorgan province.
The 23-times capped outside-half has been linked with a switch to Gwent after Leeds Tykes' Welsh coach Phil Davies, who was chasing Thomas' signature, revealed the player has opted to stay in Wales.
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Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
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