Canada's gain is also Canada's loss when it comes to Quinn Ngawati.
The 19-year-old from Victoria, the first Canadian-born player to appear in a professional rugby league game, is now training with the Canadian rugby sevens team. To do so, he turned down an offer to play for the Canada Wolverines in their bid to qualify for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Wolverines coach Ben Fleming called Ngawati's loss a big blow but wished him well.
"He's a great player and we would welcome him back," he said.
The six-foot-four 240-pound Ngawati left the Toronto Wolfpack, a transatlantic rugby league team, in mid-October to continue his rugby career and pursue a career in aviation. He has been on Canada sevens coach Damian McGrath's radar for some time.
Rugby league is the 13-man version of rugby. Rugby union, the more popular version around the globe, offers 15- and seven-man versions of the game.
The Canadian sevens team, back training after a labour dispute, is gearing up for the opening of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai on Nov. 30. McGrath, who is dealing with injuries to Harry Jones, Phil Berna and Mike Fuailefau, says Ngawati could figure in Dubai but is more likely to get see action in December-January with the developmental Maple Leafs squad.
Ngawati made three appearances for the Wolfpack after impressing in tryouts ahead of their inaugural season in 2017. He saw action twice last year, making Canadian rugby league history in his debut against Gloucester All Golds in Round 14 of play in League 1 (England's third tier).
After the Wolfpack were promoted to the second-tier Betfred Championship, Ngawati was loaned to London Skolars in League 1 where he made nine appearances and scored his first professional try this year.
Recalled by Toronto in June, Ngawati started the final game of the regular season against Featherstone Rovers.
Ngawati was named to the Canada Wolverines' extended training squad ahead of the 2018 Americas Championship, a Rugby League World Cup qualifier that opens Nov. 13 in Jacksonville, Fla.
But he declined a place on the final roster, due to his sevens commitments.
Ngawati's father is from New Zealand with Maori roots — a background proudly displayed via the tattoo on the back of Quinn's calf. Ngawati Sr., played rugby league so Quinn grew up immersed in both union and league. His mother is Canadian, meeting her future husband in New Zealand.
Ngawati was one of three players to survive the initial round of Wolfpack tryouts. He was in class at St. Michaels University School in Victoria when the call to come east was made by the Wolfpack in the summer of 2017. He graduated from high school on June 19 and was on a plane June 21.
Ngawati has played rugby union for Canada at age-grade level.
The Wolfpack wrapped up their 2018 season on Oct. 7, losing a promotion showdown 4-2 to London Broncos.
Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter