Irish club Leinster arrived in South Africa today for a two match tour, becoming the first team to travel to the country as part of the Pro 14 expansion experiment.
Unfortunately, the experiment hasn’t started out too well with Leinster leaving the airport in Johannesburg this morning without two traveling players, including their captain Isa Nacewa.
Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park, both New Zealanders were denied entry to South Africa because of a visa issue. Earlier this year, there was a change in South African law requiring New Zealand citizens to apply for a visa to enter the country, something which hadn’t been needed before.
Leinster have confirmed the two players will return to Dublin:
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.
Nick McCarthy has been called up to the touring squad as a result and will arrive tomorrow.
The team are due to play the Southern Kings on Saturday in Port Elizabeth before traveling to Bloemfontein to take the Cheetahs next week.
The introduction of two South African teams into the competition this season was already viewed as a logistical nightmare, and this mishap is unlikely to make the situation any more palatable.