Leeds Rhinos prop Ava Seumanufagai has been granted a release from his contract for family reasons.
Seumanufagai will return home to Australia to re-unite with his family, something that may not have been possible if the situation with Covid-19 around the world, but especially in the UK, continued to worsen.
Ava, 29, joined Leeds during their 2019 season from Cronulla Sharks and went on to make 32 appearances, one of which was at Wembley in the Coral Challenge Cup final.
The New Zealand-born forward wrote a heartfelt post on Instagram which read: “Definite highlight of my time with Leeds Rhinos was winning the 2020 Challenge Cup. I loved being a part of such a great club.”
“Sadly, I’ve made the decision to cut my time short so I can be home with young one. With restrictions continuing into next year, the option to travel back and forth looks almost impossible.”
Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield added: “Ava spoke to myself and Richard Agar about the possibility of a release from the remaining year of his contract to return home for family reasons. We are sorry to see him leave the club but fully support his decision.
“He was aware of how highly we still think of him but we understood the position he was in. He has now decided to stay in Australia and he leaves with our best wishes. He remains a friend of the club.”