Leinster confirm visa issues were an administrative error
As of January this year New Zealand nationals required to have a visa to enter SA
Guy Easterby has said that Leinster failed to apply for visas for their two New Zealanders. Photograph: Inpho
Leinster has confirmed that the visa issues that prevented two players, utility back Isa Nacewa and scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park, from entering South Africa on Wednesday with the rest of the team, was due to an administrative error.
Guy Easterby, Head of Rugby Operations, Leinster Rugby, issued a statement on Thursday morning from South Africa explaining that as of January 16th of this year New Zealand nationals were required to have a visa to enter the country. This was overlooked by Leinster and the two players were refused entry on arrival.
Nacewa is New Zealand born of Fijian decent, while Gibson-Park was born in Auckland.
“As of January 16th 2017 a visa is required for New Zealand nationals entering South Africa,” said the Leinster statement.
“Unfortunately this visa was not applied for by Leinster Rugby on behalf of Jamison Gibson-Park and Isa Nacewa in advance of the squad leaving Dublin Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was only brought to our attention upon landing into Johannesburg on Wednesday morning that this was now a requirement.
“This was clearly an administrative oversight on our part and a valuable lesson has been learned.
“Nick McCarthy will arrive in later today and for the moment no other player will be called up to the squad.”
Gibson-Park and Nacewa were two of the few travelling Leinster players who had previous experience of playing Super Rugby in South Africa. Gibson-Park spoke earlier this week in Dublin about playing at altitude in Bloemfontein, where the Cheetahs are based.
The province take on the Southern Kings on Saturday afternoon in Port Elizabeth with a clash with the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein to follow on Friday week.