CENTRE Tiaan Loots has been released from his Dragons contract to join Houston SaberCats in America.

The 27-year-old South African will play in Major League Rugby for the Texan side, who are coached by former Dragons back Paul Emerick and ex-Wales prop Darren Morris.

Loots was signed from RGC along with fly-half Jacob Botica last summer but after showing flashes of talent in pre-season, including a try at Gloucester, suffered a torn pectoral muscle playing in the Celtic Cup.

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The centre, who made nine appearances for Cross Keys in the Premiership last season, had another year left on his contract but has been released early without making a regional appearance.

The Dragons have Jack Dixon, Adam Warren, Tyler Morgan, Connor Edwards and summer signing Tom Griffiths as their midfield options for the coming campaign along with highly-rated Wales Under-20s prospect Aneurin Owen.

South African centre Jarryd Sage left last summer and has signed for ex-Dragons boss Paul Turner at English Championship club Ampthill.

Loots becomes the second former Dragons to head to the USA after utility back Carl Meyer, who left in 2018 after making 64 appearances, signed for New Orleans Gold.