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Howley: Davies departure a 'big blow for Wales'
ESPN Staff
November 12, 2013
Jonathan Davies is out for four months with a pectoral injury © Getty Images

Wales coach Rob Howley has conceded losing Jonathan Davies to Clermont Auvergne is a blow and he will be "sorely missed".

Top 14 giants Clermont confirmed the signing of Davies on Tuesday with the British & Irish Lions centre joining on a two-year deal with the option of a third. The news comes as a blow for both the Scarlets and Welsh regional rugby as a whole as the Welsh Rugby Union had previously spoken of its goal to keep their best talent in the country.

But Davies will now link-up with the likes of Lee Byrne, Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate and Luke Charteris in playing in the Top 14. "I think it's a big blow for Wales," Howley told Wales Online. "I was with Jon in 2009, he played his debut in Canada.

"He has come on a fair way since then. He was a bit like a rabbit in headlights there but in the summer he was exceptional for the Lions. Jon has been outstanding on and off the field and he will be sorely missed.

"The Scarlets did all they could and I have been aware of the decision Jon wanted to make. But he is ambitious and he's gone to a side he feels will be right up there in European rugby."

Howley has also revealed Davies has a international release clause in his contract. Howley added: "Once we knew he was leaving, Wales release was our primary concern and he has that. He will be fully available for Wales in the autumn series next year."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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