Quentin Laulu Togaga’e will join Keighley Cougars on a two year deal for the 2021 season after Newcastle Thunder agreed to a request to release the Samoan international half back from his contract with the club.

Signed to Kingston Park in July 2019, QLT joined Thunder on a deal that was set to see him through to the end of 2021.

But with new business interests established during the enforced Covid-19 break requiring a significant level of focus from the player, the best interests of both he and the club will see them go their separate ways.

Thunder head coach Simon Finnigan said: “Q came to us with a request to be released from his contract and in the circumstances, it’s one that the club has decided to agree to.

“He is at a point in his career where he, quite rightly, is thinking about what’s next after rugby and he has started to set up a business which I’m sure will go on to be a big success.

There will be a lot of attention he is going to have to dedicate to that, so we felt it was best for both the club and the player to allow him to leave and he does so with nothing but our best wishes.”

Following the cancellation of Betfred League 1 in 2020, Finnigan and director of rugby Denis Betts focus is now looking towards assembling Thunder’s 2021 squad, with the head coach looking forward to the task ahead.

He added: “We’re just starting to see where we are at for next year and to build the squad. We’ve got some exciting targets and we’re hopeful we’ll again have a quality team to field