Former England international and 2011 Man of Steel Rangi Chase has been released by League 1 club West Wales Raiders three months into his contract.
The 35-year-old former Castleford, Salford and Widnes half-back joined the Llanelli club along with former rugby union fly-half Gavin Henson ahead of the 2021 season and, after making the move to live in south Wales, was appointed as captain.
“Rangi asked to be released due to family reasons,” said Raiders co-owner Andrew Thorne. “I think he underestimated how far away Wales actually is and he found being so far from his children an issue.
“The club supported his request as we understand that family takes priority and we have offered him all the assistance he needs to support him with any welfare issues.”
Bradford and Rochdale are thought to be keen on signing Chase but West Wales are insisting on a transfer fee and say they have not yet had an approach for the player.
“His release obviously has a massive financial impact on the club so a compromise agreement was legally placed into his release agreement,” Thorne said.
“Obviously the sport is better with Rangi in it and we want to see him play as long as possible but not at the expense of us.”
Wales international forward Joe Burke has taken over the Raiders’ captaincy and Jamie Murphy has moved into Chase’s play-making role.
Meanwhile, Thorne says Henson is close to making his first appearance in League 1 after being sidelined through injury since making his debut in the Raiders’ 58-4 Challenge Cup defeat by Widnes in March.
It has been revealed the 39-year-old Henson broke two fingers inside the first 20 minutes of that cup-tie and played on for the rest of the game.
Henson, who won 33 caps with Wales during his career with Ospreys, Bath and Bristol, was set to make his return in May when he pulled a calf muscle in training but Thorne says he is now fully recovered.
The club will welcome fans to Stebonheath Park for the first time since the easing of lockdown restrictions when the Raiders host the Wales derby with North Wales Crusaders on Saturday.