Pro12: Scarlets sign Crusaders wing Johnny McNicholl

Johnny McNicholl
Johnny McNicholl made his Crusaders debut in 2013 and has scored nine tries in 25 Super Rugby games

Scarlets have signed New Zealander Johnny McNicholl from Super Rugby side Crusaders.

Scarlets say the 25-year-old is on a three-year deal. Crusaders say he is there for two and a half years.

He can also cover full-back and Crusaders say he will arrive in Llanelli "at the end of 2016".

"This is a great opportunity to experience living and playing in a different part of the world," said McNicholl.

"I am at a stage in my life that I would like to do some more travel while I don't have family commitments back in New Zealand, and I am so fortunate to be able to do that with my rugby career.

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"The Scarlets club appeals because they are a successful team that plays a similar brand of rugby to the Crusaders, and working under a Kiwi coach in Wayne Pivac will make that transition easier."

Crusaders' former Edinburgh coach Todd Blackadder described McNicholl as "a rare talent".

Blackadder added: "His speed and ability to break through tackles has never been on better display than in the last couple of games, and we are loving seeing Johnny back to his best after a frustrating run with injuries over recent years."

Speaking before Crusaders announced McNicholl's move, Pivac said Scarlets want to ensure they vastly improve on a winless 2015-16 European Champions Cup campaign next season.

"We are looking at all the competitions not only for next season, but the season after as well," said the New Zealander.

"Europe is a target in a year and two years' time. Certainly we want to improve on our performances in Europe next year.

"In the next couple of years the goal is going to be trying to have a crack at winning this Pro 12, and realistically put ourselves in a position where we should be getting to the final, if not winning it, and to the quarter-finals and beyond for Europe."

Scarlets confirmed McNicholl's signing with general manager of rugby Jon Daniels saying: "Johnny is an exciting young player, but also brings with him vast Super Rugby experience and has proved himself on the provincial stage and is a proven try-scorer."