Two career Scarlets, Simon Easterby and Mark Jones, have confirmed they are retiring from rugby and will be taking their international playing experience and knowledge of the game and region into exciting new roles within the Welsh club's coaching set-up.
Easterby, 35, who captained the Scarlets for five consecutive seasons, now concludes a distinguished career, having played more than 50 European games, 201 games (19 tries) for Llanelli and the Scarlets and remains Ireland's most capped flanker with 65 caps for his country plus the honour of two British and Irish Lions caps.
He has been part of the Scarlets region since 1999. Easterby, who made his debut for Ireland in the 2000 Six Nations and retired from test match rugby after the 2008 tournament, has lived and breathed rugby at the top level for more than a decade.
Easterby has now been officially confirmed as the Scarlets new defence coach and has signed a two-year contract with the region. This follows the announcement of Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde as the Scarlets forwards coach next season.
Appointed as a player-coach with the Scarlets last season, Easterby sustained a knee injury in December last year which has since forced him to retire from the game. During more than six months out last season, the experienced flanker spent significant time with the Scarlets coaching team.
And Scarlets teammate, Jones, who took over from Easterby as captain last season, has received final confirmation from medics that his playing days are over. The news and decision to retire from a brilliant playing career at just 30 has been a difficult one for the popular winger as he felt he still had plenty to give as a player both with his region and for Wales.
Jones enjoyed 12 seasons with the Scarlets and was granted a testimonial year by his region last year. A career Scarlet, Jones has been a hugely popular amongst fellow players and supporters, playing 164 times for his region and scoring 425 points (85 tries). He played his first Scarlets game against Saracens on 26 August 1998. He has won 47 caps for Wales, scoring 13 tries for his country and was part of the Grand Slam winning team in 2008.
The good news for the region's supporters is that the motivated and energetic Scarlets back will not be missing from West Wales rugby next season and he will now be transferring his experience and knowledge into an exciting new career as a skills coach for the region on a two-year contract.
This will see him coach skills both at first-team level and with a wider responsibility within the Premiership teams, Academy and age-grade pathways for the region. His role will be to enhance and cement key skills sets throughout the Scarlets system and promote consistency and excellence amongst up and coming young players.
Scarlets head coach, Nigel Davies said: "The key to these two appointments is that we've retained the experience and calibre of two highly distinguished and experienced rugby professionals into our regional coaching set-up.
"The Scarlets philosophy is to develop our rugby future from within our region and provide opportunities for talented individuals, and this applies as much to our coaching team as it does our playing side and these two are outstanding Scarlets players that will have a lot to give us as emerging rugby coaches.
"They have a winning mentality ingrained within them. Both have achieved the highest honours in their careers and as international standard rugby professionals straight from the game will bring a big desire to succeed and an energetic and creative approach. Their understanding of today's game, tactical awareness and how our players need to be motivated throughout the season will be valuable.
"Our new-look coaching team has a strong combination of experience and expertise at all levels together with fresh ideas and energy. I think it's a good mix and will have a positive impact in helping drive our squad forward next season."
Supporters will be able to show their appreciation and applaud the contribution that Jones has made to the Scarlets over more than a decade at his testimonial match at Parc y Scarlets when the Scarlets take on the Worcester Warriors on Saturday 21 August in a pre-season friendly.