James So’oialo has been released from his contract on compassionate grounds by Connacht Rugby and the IRFU.

The 24-year-old will return to his family and two children in New Zealand.

So’oialo arrived in Connacht in late September following permit delays and played some time in both Heineken Cup pool games against Saracens and Zebre.

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.”

James added:

“I’ve enjoyed my short time at Connacht and was made feel so welcome by the boys. I wish Connacht all the best and I’ll be keeping a keen eye on their progress from New Zealand.”

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