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Worcester statement: Willi Heinz has left with immediate effect

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Former England scrum-half Willi Heinz has been released from his contract with Worcester by mutual agreement to return to his native New Zealand. The 35-year-old joined Warriors from Gloucester last summer and made a promising start to his career at Sixways by scoring tries in each of his first two games against London Irish and Harlequins.

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However, after four appearances, he was then sidelined for five months by a groin injury before returning to action in the Gallagher Premiership defeat at London Irish on March 5. Heinz went on to end his Worcester career on a high note, helping them to a 35-31 victory over Exeter at Sixways eleven days ago.

That was his last appearance for the club and a Worcester statement read: “Heinz’s family recently returned to New Zealand and Warriors are fully supportive of his request to re-join them there.

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“Heinz played for and captained Canterbury in New Zealand’s ITM Cup and also played for Christchurch-based Crusaders in Super Rugby before he joined Gloucester ahead of the 2015/16 season. Having qualified to play for England, Heinz won 13 caps between 2019 and 2020 and played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.”

Steve Diamond is now at the Worcester helm but it was last September when ex-head coach Jonathan Thomas explained to RugbyPass how Heinz, one of their multiple off-season signs, had settled in at the club.

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“I hate singling out players because they have all added value,” he said. “Like, Willie Heinz has got huge experience but he is also really selfless and has a good mindset for growing other players, especially our younger players.”

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A deep breath was needed counting up all the comings and goings last summer at the Warriors as 21 players were ushered out through the exit door at Sixways and 18 others arrived in through the entrance, but there have been further changes since then with Diamond now in charge.  

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