FORMER England scrum-half Willi Heinz has been released from his contract with Worcester Warriors by mutual agreement to return to his native New Zealand.

Heinz, 35, joined Warriors from Gloucester Rugby 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.

But after four appearances he was then sidelined for five months by a groin injury before he returned to action in the Gallagher Premiership match against London Irish at the Brentford Community Stadium three weeks ago.

Heinz ended his Warriors career on a high note, helping the side to a 35-31 victory over Exeter Chiefs at Sixways 11 days ago.

Heinz’s family recently returned to New Zealand and Warriors are fully supportive of his request to re-join them there.

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.

Having qualified to play for England, Heinz won 13 caps between 2019 and 2020 and played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.