FLY-HALF Jacob Botica has returned to France with Federale 1 club Rennes after being released by the Dragons, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 27-year-old New Zealander made 10 appearances, two of them starts, for the Rodney Parade region after moving south from Colwyn Bay-based Premiership club RGC.

He failed to make a single outing in his first season in regional rugby but featured under Dean Ryan after Josh Lewis' serious knee injury opened the door to be understudy to fly-half Sam Davies.

However, Botica featured predominantly off the bench as a makeshift full-back and made his first start at 15 in January's European Challenge Cup loss at Castres.

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His sole start at fly-half came against Benetton while Davies was on Six Nations duty, the final fixture before coronavirus led to the suspension of the Guinness PRO14.

The Dragons have re-signed Arwel Robson on a one-year deal to tussle with Davies and Lewis while Botica has headed for France.

He previously had a spell with Agen and this time he will head for Rennes in the north west. The club play in Fédérale 1, the third tier of French rugby.

"Two years goes so quickly," Botica said in a social media post. "My time at Dragons has come to an end and I just want to thank everyone for the opportunity to let me represent this proud region.

"I made some great memories with an awesome group of boys! Thanks to the fans down Rodney Parade, always loud and vocal supporting the boys.

"Gutted I couldn't see the end of the season off with this amazing group, but I'm sure I'll see them again someday.

"I've made amazing friends for life. Time for a new adventure - I hope to see you all again soon."