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Kiwi rugby pair denied South African visa

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6 days ago

Isa Nacewa, Leinster Rugby © Photo by David Davies - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images Isa Nacewa, Leinster Rugby New Zealand rugby players Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park have been denied entry to South Africa to play for their Irish club due to visa regulations.

Former Blues backs Nacewa and Gibson-Park have been forced to return to Ireland, their Leinster club said in a short statement on Thursday (NZT).

"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."

Leinster said it will make no further comment on the issue, other than to confirm that Irish halfback Nick McCarthy is flying out to replace Gibson-Park.

Regulations introduced by South Africa last December require New Zealanders to obtain a visa to enter the country.

Utility back Nacewa, 35, has played for Leinster since 2008, when he finished four seasons with the Blues.

Taranaki halfback Gibson-Park, 25, played four Super Rugby seasons with the Blues and Hurricanes before joining Leinster last year.

Leinster will be the first club from Europe to play a Pro 14 competition match in South Africa when they meet the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

The Southern Kings and Cheetahs both switched to play in the Pro 14 after being dropped from Super Rugby as South Africa downsized its commitment to the SANZAAR competition from six to four teams.

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