Scarlets: Phil Bennett has mixed feelings on Jack Payne move

Phil Bennett
Phil Bennett won 29 caps for Wales between 1969 and 1978

Former Wales and Llanelli fly-half Phil Bennett has questioned Scarlets' move for Welsh-qualified flanker Jack Payne from Queensland Reds in Australia.

Payne, 20, has arrived in Wales, but any move cannot be made official until passport issues have been resolved.

Scarlets president Bennett would prefer to see local players at Scarlets, but admitted importing Welsh-qualified players from abroad could help Wales.

"There's a lot of mixed feeling from Llanelli," he said.

"We're kind of old fashioned here. People still go back to the great Llanelli days . . . they all want to be Welsh, Welsh-speaking if they had their way," joked 66-year-old Bennett.

"But let's be honest, look at the Australians, the All Blacks and how they've milked the situation of getting players from Fiji, Samoa and different places.

"You've got to get and live with the very best in the world."

Jack Payne
Jack Payne scored a try for Australia Under-20s at this year's Junior Rugby World Cup.

A recent import to Wales has been Cardiff Blues back Gareth Anscombe, signed from Waikato Chiefs in his home country of New Zealand, who qualifies for Wales through his mother.

Anscombe, 23, has already met Wales head coach Warren Gatland and has admitted he would be "proud" to represent Wales.

Payne, who featured for Australia Under-20s at the 2014 Junior Rugby World Cup, is understood to qualify for Wales through his father.

The 6ft 5in and 18st 3lb back row can also play lock and Bennett says he could potentially benefit Gatland's side.

"I just hope this young man, if he's coming over and he's 100 per cent qualified to play for Wales, then we've got to take advantage of that if he's good enough."

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