RFL insists it is not to blame over Crusaders players' visa problems

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The Independent Online

The Rugby League has denied that it was lax in allowing six Celtic Crusaders to play in this country despite not being entitled to visas. The UK Borders Agency has ordered the six Australians – all signed earlier than this season – to be deported and banned from entering the country for 10 years.

The RFL is waiting for the full reports from the agency, but says it was not responsible for picking up on the discrepancies in the players' applications.

"The governing body would not refuse a player's registration if the UK Borders Agency gave the player a visa and the appropriate documentation was provided," a League spokesman said. The six have to be out of the country by 7 September.

Epalahame Lauaki is set to make his long-delayed debut for Hull against Harlequins tomorrow. The Tongan was held up by visa complications and then seriously injured his arm in New Zealand, but has now been passed fit.

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