CONNACHT HAVE RELEASED Samoan utility back James So’oialo on compassionate grounds after just a month with the province.
The 24-year old will return to his family and children in New Zealand.
Despite signing with Connacht in May, So’oialo only arrived with the province in September following work permit delays but he did feature in their two Heineken Cup games with Saracens and Zebre.
Speaking about his release, Connacht head coach Pat Lam said:
“James came to us with an urgent request to return home to New Zealand where his young family is based. His situation was one we could sympathise with and we were able to organise a release, effective immediately.
“We wish James all the best in the future.”
In a statement issued by Connacht, So’oialo thanked the province for their support and said:
“I’ve enjoyed my short time at Connacht and was made feel so welcome by the boys. But I need to be with my family now.
“I wish Connacht all the best and I’ll be keeping a keen eye on their progress from New Zealand.”
So’oialo, who played in the 2011 Rugby World Cup with Samoa, is younger brother to former All-Blacks Number 8 Rodney So’oialo and former Harlequins scrum half Stephen So’oialo.