Bath's Shontayne Hape to miss run-in with knee injury

Shotayne Hape
Hape helped England win this season's Six Nations championship

Bath and England centre Shontayne Hape has been ruled out for the rest of the season because he needs knee surgery.

It means the 30-year-old, who is joining Premiership rivals London Irish at the end of the campaign, has played his last game for Bath.

He will undergo a minor operation this week, but is expected to be fit for the World Cup in the autumn.

Hape told the club websiteexternal-link: "Hopefully the team can continue on from the win last weekend and make the play-offs."

The former New Zealand rugby league international signed from Bradford Bulls in the summer of 2008 and made 52 appearances for the club, scoring six tries.

He made his England debut on the summer tour in Australia in 2010 and added: "I have had a great time here at Bath and 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 whilst I am excited about the new challenges awaiting me, I will be sad to leave the guys here."

Head coach Steve Meehan told BBC Radio Bristol he was unhappy by the decision to have surgery at this point.

"It's frustrating, we don't have any say in it.

"Under normal circumstances we would have managed the injury through until the end of the season but it's been taken out of our hands."