Donald's Premiership switch falls through
July 16, 2011
Donald will switch from the Chiefs to the Blues for next year's Super Rugby campaign © Getty Images
Stephen Donald's proposed move to Aviva Premiership side Bath has collapsed after the Kiwi playmaker failed to secure a work permit.
The 27-year-old All Blacks international had been expected to make the switch from the Chiefs to England later this year after agreeing terms with the West Country giants but after hitting a stumbling block he has committed to the Blues for next year's Super Rugby campaign.
The Sunday Star Times reports that work permits are granted to those New Zealand players who have UK ancestry or alternatively have started a Test for the All Blacks in the past 18 months. But none of Donald's grandparents were born in the UK and his three international appearances in the required timeframe have come off the bench. And while All Blacks coach Graham Henry has talked up Donald's value, the Waikato No.10's failure to secure a place in New Zealand's Tri-Nations squad means he is unlikely to earn any Test caps in the near future.
In the wake of the news that his propsed move to England had fallen through, it was reported that Donald would instead link up with the Blues to fill the void set to be left by Stephen Brett and Luke McAlister, who are both heading overseas. However, Auckland Rugby chief executive Andy Dalton then told Radio Sport that no move had been made for the player, leaving Donald in limbo given that the Chiefs have already signed Aaron Cruden to replace him in Hamilton.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
With the World Cup just a year away, ESPN picks out five matches to watch
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup