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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 18 January, 2018

Nacewa and Gibson-Park to return home from South Africa after visa bid fails

Nick McCarthy has been called up.

Nacewa and Gibson-Park will fly home to Dublin.
Nacewa and Gibson-Park will fly home to Dublin.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

LEINSTER’S SQUAD FOR the two-game tour of South Africa is down to 27 players after it was confirmed Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park will return home.

The Kiwi pair were denied entry to South Africa upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport this morning due to visa issues and the eastern province have failed in their bid to obtain the necessary documentation.

Club captain Nacewa and scrum-half Gibson-Park didn’t have the necessary visa that New Zealanders require to enter South Africa, with a law change at the start of the year appearing to catch Leinster out.

Both players will now return home to Dublin ‘at the earliest opportunity’ with Nick McCarthy flying out to Johannesburg to link up with Leo Cullen’s squad ahead of Saturday’s Pro14 game against the Southern Kings.

“Leinster Rugby can confirm that both Jamison Gibson-Park and Isa Nacewa have not been granted a visa at this point in time and will as a result return to Dublin at the earliest opportunity,” a statement said this evening.

“Nick McCarthy has been called up to the touring squad as a result and will arrive tomorrow. Leinster Rugby will be making no further comment on this matter.”

Already without their 2017 Lions and a number of senior internationals including Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip, the loss of Gibson-Park and, in particular, Nacewa is a further stretch on Cullen’s resources.

The Leinster head coach will now have just 27 players available to him for the back-to-back games against the Kings and Cheetahs.

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