Hape set for early Bath
April 19, 2011
Hape will make the switch to Premiership rivals London Irish in the off-season © Getty Images
England centre Shontayne Hape has played his last game for Bath with injury bringing an early end to his time at the Premiership club.
Hape, who will join the west country club's Aviva Premiership rivals London Irish next season, has been ruled out of Bath's remaining Premiership games against Wasps at Twickenham and home and away appointments with Newcastle by a knee injury.
The 30-year-old is set to undergo a minor operation that will also sideline him for the Premiership play-offs next month although Bath are currently nine points adrift of the top four, with Leicester, Saracens, Gloucester and Northampton looking set to secure semi-final places.
Hape, who switched codes when he joined Bath from Bradford Bulls in 2008, said, "I have had a great time at Bath, and I am so thankful for the help everyone here has given me in making the transition to union and in fulfilling my international ambitions. It has been a very enjoyable three years, and while I am excited about the new challenges awaiting me, I will be sad to leave the guys here."
Bath director of rugby, Sir Ian McGeechan, paid tribute to the Kiwi-born centre who is set to figure strongly in Martin Johnson's Rugby World Cup plans later this year. "Shontayne has been a key player for Bath the last few seasons, and we shall be sad to see him go," he said. "He wanted to leave us knowing that he had helped the Club to achieve our ambitions for this season, and in creating the decisive score last weekend against Harlequins, I think he has done just that."
McGeechan's sentiments were echoed by head coach Steve Meehan who will also be leaving The Rec at the end of the season. "Shontayne showed on Saturday what he brings to the game, and the impact he can have," he said. "We would like to thank him for his commitment and dedication to Bath, and wish him well for the future."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament