Worcester Warriors have signed Wales international stand-off Owen Williams from Japanese club Red Hurricanes.
The 29-year-old former Leicester and Gloucester man, who can also play at centre, moved to Japan in June 2020, during the first Coronavirus lockdown.
It made him ineligible to play for Wales – which will remain the case at Sixways, where he will link up with his old Gloucester team-mate Willi Heinz.
Williams has won five Wales caps but has not figured since 2020.
He was picked by Warren Gatland as a replacement for Wales’ 2020 Six Nations match in Ireland, but was injured in the warm-up.
After opting to follow his old Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann to Japan, he became ineligible under the WRU policy which prevents selection of players with fewer than 60 caps who opt to play club rugby outside Wales.
But he has now at least been signed by a fellow Welshman in Warriors head coach Jonathan Thomas.
“I have not worked with Owen before,” said Thomas. “But a lot of people who have speak very highly of him.
“Owen and Willi know each other well so there is a chemistry there. He’s a huge signing for the club.”
Of Worcester’s nine signings for next season, five are internationals, Williams, England scrum-half Heinz, Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe, Wales hooker Scott Baldwin from Harlequins and Tonga number eight Sione Vailanu from Wasps.
Worcester will also be bringing in Bath scrum-half Will Chudley and three forwards – props Christian Judge and Jack Owlett. and versatile Kyle Hatherell from Jersey Reds.