Leinster's Nacewa and Gibson-Park denied entry to South Africa due to visa issues

The players may be boarding a flight back to Dublin this evening should they fail in having their denied entry overturned.

LEINSTER’S TWO-MATCH tour of South Africa got off to the worst possible start with two of their players being denied entry into the country.

Leinster’s Isa Nacewa Billy Stickland / INPHO Club captain Isa Nacewa is one of two Leinster players denied entry to South Africa. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

The team arrived in South Africa this morning, however, captain Isa Nacewa and his fellow New Zealander Jamison Gibson-Park were refused entry by the customs at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

It is understood that the pair didn’t have the necessary visa that New Zealanders require to enter the country.

South African law changed at the beginning of the year requiring citizens from New Zealand to have a visa. Previously New Zealanders could travel to the country without a visa.

In a statement released this afternoon, Leinster confirmed the process is ongoing.

Leinster Rugby can confirm that two members of the touring squad to South Africa, Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park, encountered visa issues this morning upon arrival in Johannesburg. As this process is still ongoing, Leinster Rugby will be making no further statement.”

Should Nacewa and Gibson-Park fail in having their denied entry overturned, they could be boarding a flight back to Dublin as soon as Wednesday evening.

This is not the first time this has happened to a Kiwi rugby player visiting South Africa.

Earlier this year, Alex Nankivell of the Chiefs was sent back home due to a ‘clerical error’ with his visa and hence missed out on the team’s Super Rugby match against the Stormers in Cape Town.

Leinster are set to face the Southern Kings on Saturday afternoon at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, and the Toyota Cheetahs next week in Bloemfontein at the Toyota Stadium.

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