Lachlan Mitchell is the latest Melbourne Rebel to exit the Super Rugby club, saying he’s lost his passion for the game.
Following a season-ending knee injury in March, the 26-year-old outside back has decided to take an “indefinite break”.
Mitchell is one of seven players, including Hugh Pyle and Jason Woodward who played in their disappointing 36-20 loss to Queensland on Friday night, to leave the club.
Lock Pyle will play with French giants Stade Francais and Woodward is returning home to Wellington to play with the Hurricanes.
Mitchell said he was looking to study and explore life outside rugby.
“I’ve loved my rugby career to date, but I’ve got to a point where I don’t want to keep playing for the sake of it,” he said.
A foundation Rebel, Mitchell became the first player to mark 50 games for the club in the match against the NSW Waratahs when he fractured his knee.
Melbourne’s loss to the Reds was their third in succession with coach Tony McGahan saying the players had lost their physicality and mental edge.
After an encouraging period in which they beat the Waratahs, Brumbies and Reds, their form since round 15 has fallen away badly.
“Those last three weeks certainly were not a standard that anyone is accepting,” McGahan said.
“It’s frustrating that we’re not playing to our potential.
“I’ve got a lot of belief in the group and in the players and what they can deliver so, to see them not being able to produce that consistently through a game, certainly frustrates.”
The Rebels finish their Super Rugby season with two games in South Africa against the Lions and the Bulls.
Five-eighth Bryce Hegarty said they were desperate to add another two wins to their season tally of four which has them anchoring the Australian conference ladder.
“Every team goes through a rough patch,” Hegarty said.
“There will always be doubters but we will keep moving forward.
“We’ve got South Africa to come and I know the boys are really looking forward to proving themselves.”