Bristol and Tonga winger Will Helu takes break from rugby

Will Helu

Winger Will Helu has decided against returning to Bristol for next season due to personal reasons.

The Tonga international, 26, had agreed a new contract at the Memorial Stadium but will now stay in New Zealand and take time out from the game following a family bereavement.

Bristol chief executive Steve Gorvett told BBC Radio Bristol: "We completely back the decision he's made."

Helu joined Bristol in October and made 15 appearances for the club.

Gorvett continued: "Will is a gentleman and has conducted himself very well.

"When he came over last year he immediately fitted in really well. He contributed a lot to the club and it will be a real loss to us."

Helu said in a statement: "I want to say thank you to [head coach] Liam [Middleton], [academy coach] Matt [Sherratt] and the rest of the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to be part of a great club.

"To the Bristol fans, thank you for the fantastic support. You are the best supporters I have had the pleasure of playing in front of."