15 Sep 2017

NZ rugby players refused entry to SA

7:19 am on 15 September 2017

Two New Zealanders travelling to South Africa for their first PRO14 match with Irish rugby club Leinster have been refused because they did not have the required visa.

Leinster's Isa Nacewa

Leinster's Isa Nacewa Photo: Photosport

Leinster captain and former Blues first-five Isa Nacewa and former Hurricanes halfback Jamison Gibson-Park were both sent home on arrival because they did not have the visa, which South Africa has required of New Zealand citizens since January.

"It was only brought to our attention upon landing into Johannesburg on Wednesday morning that this was now a requirement," said the club's Head of Rugby Operations Guy Easterby.

"This was clearly an administrative oversight on our part and a valuable lesson has been learned," said Easterby.

Leinster will compete in the first PRO14 match in South Africa when they meet the Southern Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

The Kings and the Free State Cheetahs joined the PRO14 this season after being ejected from a trimmed down Super Rugby competition.

The Cheetahs host Zebre of Italy in Bloemfontein in their first home match.

Leinster, who have won four previous PRO12 titles, will stay in South Africa for a meeting with the Cheetahs on Sept. 22.

They did not say whether they would attempt to get visas for the two New Zealanders to travel for that match.