THE Scarlets have appointed legendary former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick as a new board member.

The iconic All Black has taken up the role just days after Simon Muderack replaced Nigel Short as executive chairman in Llanelli.

The 57-year-old, who played 92 Tests, was skipper 51 times and won the 1987 World Cup, will be a non-executive director and global ambassador.

“I’m hugely excited to be joining a club with such a rich history,” said Fitzpatrick, who now works in the media and as a motivational speaker.

“The tradition and the passion is so similar to New Zealand and the Scarlets is the closest to a New Zealand environment I have experienced, completely community based, with a total focus on the development of local talent and pride in their achievement.

“The development structures are outstanding, that is shown by the number of academy players who come through and earn senior contracts and also go on and win international honours, similarly with the coaching structures.

“As for the facilities at Parc y Scarlets, they are as good as I have seen anywhere around the world.

“I remember touring here; I played in the ’89 game at Stradey Park in the rain and gales and experienced that West Wales passion first hand.

“I also feel I have a personal connection with Welsh rugby, it is in my blood. My father played against Wales in the 1953 match — the last time Wales beat the All Blacks – and greats like Phil Bennett and Gareth Edwards were my childhood heroes.”

South Wales Argus:

Fitzpatrick has been a board member at English Premiership club Harlequins since 2008 and is relishing his new role in the west.

“The board has phenomenal strength in depth with a real collective commitment to a shared vision and strong values,” he added.

“The ambition in terms of trying to grow the club is something that really excites me; the club is ambitious and I like that.

“The world is changing and Covid-19 has accelerated that change. We are in a position to shape rugby for the next 25 years; the decisions we are making now are similar to those we were making 25 years ago.

“I see this as a real opportunity to have an influence and help grow this great game.”

The Scarlets hope that Fitzpatrick will help them expand their reach.

Muderack said: “To have been able to secure someone of Sean’s talent speaks volumes not only about the ambition of the Scarlets to become a global brand in the world of rugby, but also of the attractiveness of what we have here and what the club has built.

“The Scarlets brand is already well understood on a global platform, the addition of Sean Fitzpatrick’s name to the roster of talent associated with the club will further uplift that and broaden the appeal wider than it is today.”