St Helens star Regan Grace has become one of the most exciting wingers in the Super League competition since bursting onto the rugby league scene.
The Welsh international made his debut back in 2016 and has gone on to make almost 150 appearances in the Red Vee of Saints.
Grace has helped Saints to three successive Super League Grand Final victories after beginning his sporting career in union at Aberavon Harlequins and the Ospreys academy.
Now, though, Grace will be returning to where it all happened – the 15-man code – at the end of the season with French rugby union side Racing 92 having signed a one-year deal with the option of another year.
England coach Eddie Jones and attack coach Martin Gleeson both wanted to see Grace return to union once his contract runs out at the end of the season, with the duo championing him as the next Jason Robinson.
Rugby union sides in Wales had previously reported their their interest in taking Grace with Wales Online revealing that five clubs wanted to bring him in.
Alongside Racing 92, however, it was thought that Sale and London Irish were the only two sides left chasing the winger by the end of proceedings with three Welsh rugby union clubs thought to have ended their interest.
It leaves a big hole on the wing for Kristian Woolf’s men, but, as has been customary with the Merseyside club in recent seasons, they will either replace him in house or bring in an equal talent from outside.
Woolf has proved that he is not afraid to throw in youngsters if they are ready with the likes of Ben Davies, Jon Bennison and Jake Wingfield storming onto the scene in 2022.
The Saints boss is, however, keen to get the perfect replacement for Grace.
“We have had a look at what may or may not be available. And have looked in the market over here and will look in the market in Australia as well,” Woolf told the St Helens Star.
“What we are also going to be is a be extremely patient in getting the right player. We do have to replace Regan – there is no doubt that we need to bring a player in to make sure we continue our success and keep strong going forward.
“We need to replace him with quality and are not going to rush out and get someone who does not quite fit, be that footy wise and class wise or someone who does not fit into the ethos of our group as a person.
“We are going to be patient and have a fair bit of time until the season starts – it is such a fluid sort of market these days where what is available now may not be the case in a month or two.
“We have the ability to be patient and know that we have good players who can fill voids if needs be – but we are on the lookout to bring someone in.”