Worcester Warriors have announced that full back star Chris Latham has returned home to continue his rehabilitation in Australia after suffering a season ending injury.
Former Australian international Latham has been one of Worcester's star performers this year and has made 20 first team appearances and scored 42 points, including a memorable hat-trick of tries in his first ever European Challenge Cup match.
However, Latham is now ruled out for the rest of the 2008/09 season after suffering a dislocated shoulder and fractured scapula after 14 minutes of the Guinness Premiership derby victory over Gloucester on March 22.
The 33-year-old has now flown back to his homeland to continue his rehabilitation with the support of his family and in conjunction with the Queensland Reds medical team and conditioning staff.
"My original intention was always to remain in Worcester until the end of this season, but after suffering the nature of the injury that I have the opportunity arose to return home and be surrounded by the rest of my family," said Latham.
"With the extent of the injury I felt I needed the full support of my family around me and I appreciate the club's understanding in allowing me to return home at this point to start the recovery process.
"I've really enjoyed my first full season at Warriors. My family have enjoyed the city, the warm welcome we have received from all the fans and I'm very much looking forward to getting back and getting stuck into next season.
"With the disappointment of the players and fans, nothing motivates me more than coming back ready to play my part in achieving the success this club craves and stepping back out on the Sixways pitch on the first day back."
Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock said: "Chris has been fantastic for us this season and has endeared himself to the fans and to us as coaches and players.
"We've an open line of communication with Queensland Reds medical team and conditioners and obviously we'll be in constant contact with the support staff who are facilitating Chris returning from injury in his native land.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Chris start pre-season in great shape when I finally hope that I can select him alongside a fully fit pool of back line players, such as Sam Tuitupou, Rico Gear and Hal Luscombe."
Warriors will take a one-point advantage back to Sixways after a Niall Annett try on the stroke of full-time handed Dean Ryan's men victory in the first leg of the Greene King IPA Championship play-off final.