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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 3 July, 2020

'An administrative oversight on our part': Leinster accept responsibility for visa mix-up

The province’s head of rugby operations, Guy Easterby, has released a statement.

LEINSTER RUGBY HAS moved to draw a line under the embarrassing scenario which saw Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park denied entry into South Africa by accepting responsibility for the documentation mix-up.

Leinster manager Guy Easterby Leinster's head of rugby operations Guy Easterby is with the squad in South Africa. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Club captain Nacewa and fellow Kiwi Gibson-Park were held at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport yesterday morning after it came to light that neither player had the necessary visa to enter the country.

Leinster’s frantic bid to obtain the required documentation failed and it was confirmed last night that both players will return home to Dublin, with scrum-half Nick McCarthy now joining the reduced 27-man squad for the Pro14 games against the Kings and Cheetahs.

In a statement released this morning, the province’s head of rugby operations, Guy Easterby, admitted the club were unaware of South African law change which now requires New Zealand nationals to travel to South African with a visa.

“As of 16 January 2017 a visa is required for New Zealand nationals entering South Africa,” the statement read.

“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.

“The squad is looking forward to the considerable challenge that awaits them against the Southern Kings.”

Leinster will travel to Port Elizabeth this morning ahead of Saturday’s game against the Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Leo Cullen’s side then return to their base in Cape Town before moving to Bloemfontein this day next week for their game against the Cheetahs.

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

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Ryan Bailey

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