Former Taranaki 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 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.
Yesterday the club announced they were facing disciplinary action, having brought the matter to the RFU's attention following an internal inquiry.
London Welsh added that their former rugby manager Mike Scott was now the subject of a separate RFU disciplinary hearing relating to Keats's registration and had 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]".
- Taranaki Daily News
What name would you like to see the Taranaki rugby team known as next year?Related story: Change on cards for our team - no bull