Visa issues blamed for Perez plight as Toulon stop deal

BY GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 02/08/2010

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Visa problems appear to be behind former Taranaki rep Paul Perez's inability to get to France which has led to top club Toulon ripping up his contract.

Perez, 24, had been offered a contract with the French Top 14 side two months after he was removed from New Zealand by immigration officials after being found guilty of domestic assault.

The chance to revive his playing career came from Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal, who offered Perez the chance to play alongside All Blacks Rudi Wulf and Carl Hayman, as well as British international Jonny Wilkinson.

But Perez did not turn up for Toulon's pre-season preparations, which led to Boudjellal cancelling his contract.

"He is not coming here any more," he announced in France on Friday.

"He was supposed to be there for preparation and training.

"I do not see any interest from him to join the group but it is important to do the preparation work of Phillipe Saint-Andre [Toulon coach] for next season. This is when he defines the strategies and game plans."

News that Perez's contract had been terminated came as news to the player's former mentor, Kevin Jones, who was under the impression he was still trying to sort out issues around securing a visa for Perez to even set foot in France.

"The last thing I heard he was in Fiji waiting for his visa to turn up," he said.

"I don't know what is going on because I'm only an outsider now."

Jones was under the impression Perez had been ecstatic about the opportunity and could not wait to get involved at Toulon.

There appears to have been no clear dialogue between the two parties as Boudjellal was quoted as saying he could not understand why Perez had missed his deadline to join the club at the end of last week.

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