Waratahs wing grounded by visa
Melbourne - The Waratahs have been forced to omit in-form wing Taqele Naiyaravoro from their side to take on the leading Hurricanes in their crunch Super Rugby match in New Zealand on Saturday due to a visa issue.
Fijian Naiyaravoro was also omitted from the team for the match against the Highlanders in Dunedin last month and is unable to leave Australia for the time being.
"Taqele's visa application is an ongoing process and as such he is not able to travel overseas at this point in time," a spokeswoman for the Waratahs said.
Waratahs assistant coach Daryl Gibson confirmed on Tuesday the explosive 23-year-old, who leads the team with three tries, would not be on the plane to Wellington.
The reigning champion Waratahs declined to comment on whether he would be available for subsequent games in South Africa later in the year which could prove decisive for their title defence.
The Waratahs play the Lions in Johannesburg on May 30 before taking on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in the penultimate round of the season.
Australia's immigration authority declined to comment on the Fijian's case.
Naiyaravoro's omission is a big blow for Michael Cheika's side who are currently 10th in the competition with a precarious 4-3 record as they prepare to take on the undefeated Hurricanes.
The bulky, 120-kg wing played schoolboy rugby in Fiji but was recruited by Wests Tigers in Australia's National Rugby League in 2012 before switching back to union last year to join the Waratahs.
His spot in Saturday's squad will be taken by Wallabies winger Peter Betham.