Scarlets: Priestland and Williams offered new contracts

Scarlets say they have offered new contracts to Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland and centre Scott Williams.

The duo's contracts expire at the end of the season and they have been linked with teams outside Wales.

Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies will leave Scarlets for Clermont Auvergne in France in the summer.

"We have made firm offers for Scott and Rhys," said Simon Easterby, the Scarlets coach.

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It has been a big issue for me and we cannot hide from it now, its been going on too long and we need to protect the players and we need to keep them here in Wales

Simon Easterby Scarlets coach

Priestland has been linked with a move to a host of English clubs, including Gloucester, London Wasps and Leicester Tigers.

Williams has also been linked with Wasps, who are coached by former Wales prop Dai Young, the ex-Cardiff Blues boss.

Priestland, the 2012 Grand Slam winner, has also admitted the growing frustration of all Welsh players about the ongoing row between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four Welsh regions.

The WRU and the regions - Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons - are locked in a bitter dispute over funding, the exodus of Welsh players and an Anglo-Welsh league.

The WRU has offered its four regions a new participation agreement in a bid to avert the possibility of them breaking away and playing English clubs next season.

Easterby says he has sympathy for all the players in Wales, who are out of contract and trying to decide where their future lies, as the row remains unresolved.

"The players, to be fair of them, are in limbo and you cannot blame them," said Easterby.

"The regions have worked really hard to give us some really positive options for next year.

"Nigel Short (Scarlets chairman) and Stuart Gallacher (Regional Rugby Wales chief executive) have both worked hard to give us a potentially a far better platform to work from next season onwards.

"We want to keep hold of these players, but currently we have no resolution of what is going to happen, where we are going to be playing and who we will be playing against, and then there is the funding.

"Ultimately, players are going to hold off and feel like they don't want to commit to something...when they are unaware of what is happening.

"It has been a big issue for me and we cannot hide from it now.

"It's been going on too long and we need to protect the players and we need to keep them here in Wales.

"The longer it goes on, the less chance there is of these guys staying."