Kiwi Eastwood denied visa to join Leeds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwi Eastwood denied visa to join Leeds

15/02/2009 06:44:11 AM Comments (0)

New Zealand star Greg Eastwood faces an uncertain future after his failure to secure the visa that would have cleared him to join Super League champions Leeds.

Eastwood, 21, has been refused the visa by the British High Commission in Canberra. It is believed the decision was made due to a driving conviction.

He is the fourth high-profile overseas player this year to fall victim to a clampdown on entry requirements.

The second-rower helped the Kiwis win the World Cup in November and is set to appeal the decision.

"He is shocked and obviously very disappointed," said Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington. "We are all surprised and very disappointed too."

Former Brisbane Bronco Eastwood was signed last August on a three-year contract as a direct replacement for England second-rower Gareth Ellis, who is now with NRL club Wests Tigers.

Eastwood, whose father was born in Huddersfield, was in the process of applying for a British passport but needed first to gain an entry visa.

Although the High Commission has not divulged a reason for the decision, it is thought to relate to a string of previous speeding convictions.

Leeds have won their first two Super League matches without Eastwood but are still keen to sign him.

"Greg's offence appears to be road traffic related. It would appear that you need to be an exceptionally good character to gain a visa and anybody with any blemish is at risk," Hetherington said.

"Greg will pursue an appeal and we will wait to see the outcome. We will continue to stay in touch with him during this process."

The High Commission recently rejected visa applications from fellow NRL players Michael Crocker, Todd Carney and Greg Bird, who had signed for Hull, Huddersfield and Bradford respectively.

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