Guinness Pro12: Gareth Maule reflects on tough Scarlets exit

Guinness Pro12: Gareth Maule admits leaving the Scarlets was the hardest decision he has had to make

Gareth Maule has admitted leaving the Scarlets was the hardest decision he has had to make after the Welsh region confirmed his departure to Bristol.

The 26-year-old centre is the latest Welshman to make the move to Ashton Gate following the arrival of five Welsh internationals in former Ospreys trio Ryan Jones, Ian Evans and Matthew Morgan, while scrum-half Dwayne Peel and outside-half Nicky Robinson were also signed by Andy Robinson this summer.

“This decision was definitely the hardest I have had to make during my rugby career but I felt that this opportunity could provide me with a fresh challenge, one which I am very excited about,” said Maule.

“I depart with some invaluable memories, gathered in my years with this special club and feel honoured to have worn the famous Scarlet jersey on so many occasions and to join the list of centurions is something that makes immensely proud.

“I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity that the Scarlets gave me in top-level professional rugby and I wish everyone all the best for what I feel will be a very prosperous future.”

Maule, who joined the Scarlets in 2009 from Newport Gwent Dragons, had a year left on his current contract, but with plenty of competition for places in West Wales opted for a new challenge in the Greene King IPA Championship with the promotion favourites.

“We are building a philosophy here not only to get results for the club but also to help promote our players to achieve the goals they have set for themselves,” said Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac.

“With growing competition at centre with the likes of Scott Williams, Regan King, Michael Tagicakibau, Adam Warren, Gareth Owen and Wales Under 20s captain Steff Hughes coming through the ranks, Gareth felt he would benefit from a fresh opportunity which he’s been offered at Bristol.

“Gareth has been a great servant of the club and announced the decision to take the opportunity at Bristol to the team in the changing room after the Gloucester game on Saturday. We wish him well for the 2014-15 season and the future.”

In a personal message to the Scarlets supporters, Maule added: “A special mention must go to the supporters. From the day I arrived I felt welcome and was quick to realise that the Scarlets has its very own style and the fans are no different.

“The best way to describe the support is ‘unique’ and to have experienced that first hand is something that will stay with me for a very long time.”

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