Wales international Regan Grace will leave Super League champions St Helens at the end of the season to join French rugby union side Racing 92.
The 25-year-old winger is out of contract at the end of the season and turned down a contract extension from Saints to take up a new challenge in French rugby union at the end of the year.
It comes as a blow to Saints and Wales, who were hoping the Port Talbot-born speedster would play for in the World Cup at the end of the year.
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said: “Regan has been an exciting and important contributor to the major successes of the Saints in recent years.
“We clearly very much wanted him to stay at the Saints and in Super League in the years ahead.
“However, we fully accept and respect his decision to pursue a new career, life and lifestyle in France and wish him and his family every happiness and success.”
Regan Grace on his decision to leave St Helens
He said: “I want to thank everyone at St Helens especially Eamonn McManus, Mike Rush as well as academy head coach Derek Traynor for bringing me up here and taking a risk on a young kid from Wales. It was a big move for me and I have loved every minute of being here.
“All the years being here, the club and coaches have looked after me well and have given me my chances. Thanks also to all of my team-mates who I have had the privilege of playing with.
“And of course, I want to thank all the St Helens fans, in particular the Imperial Exiles who sponsored me and looked after me when I first came over. Thanks also to the Donnelly’s and my partners family too who have all played their part and help me feel at home.
“The town has been a big part of my life”
“I have spent my entire adult life here and it has become my home. It was such a hard decision to leave because of those emotions, but I want to go and test myself and experience a new challenge.
“To win three Super League titles and a Challenge Cup has been a dream come true and my full focus is now ensuring we win a fourth title at the end of the year.”
Grace has won six caps for Wales and played in the last World Cup in 2017. He also represented his country at the Nines World Cup in 2019.
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