Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been released from his contract with the New Zealand Warriors.
Tuivasa-Sheck, 28, told his teammates that his NRL career had come to an early end due to Covid-19 travel regulations, with the full-back planning to return home before the New Zealand Government pauses its travel bubble with Australia.
The New Zealand international and Warriors skipper was in his final year with the club, having signed a two-year deal with the Auckland Blues.
“We’re hugely sympathetic to Roger’s position,” said Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“The Government paused the travel bubble last week and announced it was giving New Zealanders seven days to return home. The reality is the border might be closed for more than eight weeks.
“Roger is going to rugby union with our blessing but if we require him to see out the rest of his contract he won’t be able to return home until at least the end of September and maybe a lot later. It would seriously impact on his ability to make his start in union and we wouldn’t want to see that happen.
“We were so excited about the chance of Roger being farewelled at Mount Smart Stadium on August 15. It would have been so fitting.
“It’s disappointing for everyone that there can’t be a better end to a wonderful career but these are the times we’re living in. Our hands are tied.”
Tuivasa-Sheck made 84 appearances for the Sydney Roosters, making his debut in 2012 on the wing against Gold Coast Titans, before joining the New Zealand side in 2016, and was later named captain in 2017.
His last NRL appearance came against Penrith Panthers in round 18 – a 14-minute stint that was ended due to a head knock.
He ends his NRL career with 195 games in total, wining the 2018 Dally M Medal and was twice named full-back of the year.