UK work permit issues plague All Black transfer

18 Jul 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Difficulties in obtaining a UK work permit are presenting an obstacle to New Zealand All Black Stephen Donald's proposed transfer to Bath.

According to the All Black's website, the 27-year-old fly-half cannot obtain the UK work permit because he has no ancestral links to the country. The fact that he has not started for his own national team in over 18 months is also counting against his application since was not named in the 2011 test squad and he came off the bench in his three recent appearances for New Zealand.

He had been expected to start with Bath in November on a two-and-a-half-year contract, as a direct replacement for Butch James, who left the club earlier this year to join South African Super XV team the Lions.

The news means that Donald is now without a club home for the next season. Although he had been linked to Japanese clubs, the player has since expressed a desire to play at the highest level and will most likely remain in New Zealand to pursue this.

A number of other overseas players, however, are prominent in English rugby. Included among them is former All Black Nick Evans, who now plays for the Harlequins at Twickenham.