Leinster have admitted that an internal “administrative oversight” resulted in captain Isa Nacewa being denied entry to South Africa for the Guinness PRO14 matches against the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs.
Nacewa and fellow New Zealander Jamison Gibson-Park were turned back due to visa issues that came to light on arrival in Johannesburg. New Zealand citizens were previously exempt from having to obtain visas when visiting South Africa, but these regulations were changed earlier this year.
“As of January 16 a visa is required for New Zealand nationals entering South Africa,” Leinster head of operations Guy Easterby said in a statement released by the Irish province.
“Unfortunately this visa was not applied for by Leinster 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 join the squad and for the moment no other player will be called up.”
Leinster play the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth this Saturday before heading to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs on the following Friday. The competition has expanded from a 12-team format to include the two South African teams for the first time this year, with its other sides coming from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.