Jake Ball set to quit Wales and Scarlets at end of the season

Wales lock Jake Ball will be moving to Australia at the end of the season. Credit: PA images.

Wales lock Jake Ball will leave Scarlets and quit international rugby at the end of the season to be with his family in Australia.

The 29-year-old's wife Christie gave birth the the couple's fourth child, Max, in Australia in November.

He has won 49 caps for his country since making his debut for the Dragons in 2014. He has also made 127 appearances for Scarlets.

Ball said that whilst it was a "difficult decision" it was one he was making for his family.

Max was born last month. There have been Zoom calls and things, but I haven't seen him yet and it has been difficult.

Jake Ball

The announcement means that Ball will effectively rule himself out of contention for Wales in the future.

Wales players must pass 60 caps to play for the nation while based overseas in club rugby.

"It has been a difficult decision to make but one I have made for the family," said Ball.

"My wife was expecting our fourth child and, with Covid around and players having to be in bubbles and everything, we made the decision that she and the kids should go home to have some family help and support around her."

Ball went on to say that playing for Wales was "unbelievable" and something he would "never forget".

"It has been a fantastic nine seasons I have been here. I love the Scarlets and playing with Wales has been unbelievable and something I will never forget," he continued.

"It has been a massive honour to represent my country, but at the end of the day I made a huge sacrifice in staying behind for a year without my family."

Jake Ball will effectively give up playing for Wales. Credit: PA images.

Ball was grew up in Australia but qualified to play for Wales through his father.

He signed for the Scarlets in 2012 and said that he owed them for his first "real shot" in the sport he loves.

"I owe a lot to the Scarlets and Welsh rugby," said Ball.

"I was at the Western Force before, but it was the Scarlets who gave me my first real shot in senior rugby and it will be nice to finish off on a high and reward the Scarlets for everything they have done for me over the years.

It would be great to have fans here so I can say my farewells properly.

Jake Ball

"I have some very special memories and have got to do some fantastic things. I have no regrets with what I have done here.

"I am just hoping we can have supporters back at Parc y Scarlets before the end of the season."

Scarlets coach Glenn Delaney thanked Ball for his commitment to the team. Credit: PA images.

Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney thanked Ball for his commitment to the team and said that the club "respected" the decision to put his family first.

"As a club we fully respect Jake's decision," he said.

"Family is a massive part of the Scarlets and Jake has sacrificed a huge amount being away from Christie and his children for so long.

"He has been a wonderful servant for the Scarlets, an outstanding player, a great bloke around the group and has been a fantastic mentor to the young players who are coming through.

"You saw by his performance against the Ospreys on Boxing Day what playing for the Scarlets means to him and let's hope we can have some supporters back into Parc y Scarlets by the end of the season to give him the send-off he deserves."