Shontayne Hape ruled out for the rest of the season

Bath centre will miss the club's last two games against Wasps and Newcastle because of knee operation

Centre Shontayne Hape will not pull on the Bath Rugby jersey again after he was advised to undergo knee surgery.

Hape, who will join London Irish next season, made his last appearance last week when he helped the West country outfit earn a narrow victory over Harlequins at the Rec.

The 30-year-old England international, who will have a minor operation on his knee this week, will miss Bath’s Aviva Premiership run-in as they chase for a play-off place and a Heineken Cup spot.

“Hopefully the team can continue on from the win last weekend and make the top four and the play-offs,” he told the club’s website.

“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,” he added.

Bath director of rugby, Sir Ian McGeechan, was full of praise for Hape. He said: “Shontayne has been a key player for Bath the last few seasons, and we shall be sad to see him go.

“He wanted to leave us knowing that he had helped the club to achieve our ambitions for this season, and in creating the decisive score last weekend against Harlequins, I think he has done just that.”

The former Kiwi rugby league international helped England win the Six Nations championship this year and will be hoping to return to fitness in time for the World Cup in New Zealand in September.

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