Kiwi rugby player at centre of eligibility row

Last updated 10:12 27/02/2013
Tyson Keats
CENTRE OF TROUBLE: Tyson Keats in action for the Hurricanes in 2011.

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Former Crusaders and Hurricanes halfback Tyson Keats has found himself caught in the middle of an eligibility row that is threatening his London Welsh club's position in the English Premiership.

England rugby's national body announced a disciplinary hearing in London on March 5 would centre on the registration of Keats.

The 31-year-old joined the Exiles from Italian club Aironi last year and was seen as a key to their battle for survival in the top flight of the English game.

They are currently second to bottom, three points ahead of Sale. But their future might not be decided on the field now.

They are facing the prospect of points deduction if Keats is ruled ineligible.

The Telegraph newspaper suggested Keats was ineligible for nine Premiership games that he appeared in this season.

Today the club announced they were facing disciplinary action, having brought the matter to the RFU's attention following an internal inquiry.

London Welsh added their former rugby manager, Mike Scott, was now the subject of a separate RFU disciplinary hearing relating to Keats's registration and has been charged by the RFU with ''conduct  prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game''.

Scott's case will be heard at a later date.

The Exiles' added that ''no fault in this matter resides with the player (Keats)''.

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