1:58pm Thursday 31st October 2013
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have been given a back row boost thanks to a Fijian visa oversight, writes Chris Kirwan.
Powerhouse number eight/blindside flanker Netani Talei, who has won 27 caps, was initially named in the Pacific Islanders' squad for their autumn tour of Europe.
The Flying Fijians face Portugal in Lisbon next weekend followed by Tests against Italy in Cremona and Romania in Bucharest.
But they failed to sort out the paperwork to allow their ex-captain Talei, who will make his eighth appearance of the season against Leinster tomorrow evening, to feature on the continent.
"We have got (Lyon number eight) Sisa Koyamaibole in because Netani has issues with his visa," said Fiji team manager Joe Brown.
Former Doncaster, Worcester and Edinburgh back rower Talei, who intends to apply for a British passport, would be able to feature for the Dragons against the Scarlets and London Wasps in the LV= Cup and at Glasgow in the RaboDirect Pro12.
Fiji could still request the services of the 30-year-old for their tour finale against the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 30 although that game, which clashes with the visit of Munster to Rodney Parade, is outside of the IRB Test window.
The Dragons will be without the services of Wales number eight Toby Faletau and flankers Nic Cudd and Darren Waters are currently sidelined with shoulder and knee injuries respectively.
None of the region's away games have needed a visa so far and the region is in the process of sorting the necessary documentation for Talei to play in their Amlin Challenge Cup trip to Bordeaux in December.
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