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Lyle bids farewell to Recreation Ground

Bath have parted company with Dan Lyle after the former USA Eagles skipper agreed to an early release from his contract.

Lyle arrived at the Recreation Ground in 1997 and made a big impact during his first season as Bath went on to claim the Heineken Cup in 1998, earning rave reviews for his athletic displays at number eight.

His career was hampered by a succession of knee, shoulder and groin injuries but the 32-year-old forward battled back to secure the captaincy for the 2001-02 campaign, guiding Bath through a difficult period in the club's history.

A club statement read: "Dan skippered the side and was a great influence with many of the players, helping a number of them with with sound advice for which he gained much respect.

"We would like to formally thank Dan for his time with the club and wish him every success for the future."

Lyle, who had trials for American football outfit the Washington Redskins, has amassed 40 caps for - a figure which he is likely to increase at next month's World Cup where the Eagles are scheduled to take-on Fiji, Scotland, Japan and France in the pool stages.

"My time spent at Bath has been a very special period in my life. To have been received so warmly by the club so early in the professional era is something I will never forget," said Lyle, who made over 100 appearances for Bath.

"I have made lifelong friends at the club while the supporters and the community have always been behind me from day one - and for that I would like to thank them.

"I am very excited about the next chapter in my rugby career which includes the World Cup in Australia and my primary focus now will be on the USA national team as we enter our final preparations over the next few weeks."

Lyle, who made his international debut against Ireland in 1994 and won captaincy of the Eagles during their 1996 tour to Wales, has yet to announce his post World-Cup plans - prompting speculation that his club career may be over.