Gateshead have been hit by the news that close season signing Puna Rasaubale has asked for a release from his contract.
Rasaubale was in the final stagles of changing his visa from a working holiday to a sportsman permit but has now asked for a release due to the amount of time and effort the visa process has taken him.
He said: “The visa application has been a difficult process and I must say it has got the better of me.”
“Further time and effort will not be put in to it and I believe the reality has to be faced that I will not return.”
Rasaubale was over in the country for pre-season training, but the club has been left frustrated that all their time and efforts will now have been wasted.
Chief Executive Rod Findlay commented: “I am really disappointed by this news.”
“We have all spent a lot of time trying to secure Puna as a Thunder player and we still want him to play for our club.”
“I know the Visa application process is time consuming but when I consulted with Puna’s adviser I was informed that there wouldn’t be any problems and that he would be joining us soon.”
Head Coach Chris Hood said: “I am hugely upset and annoyed at Puna’s decision, and the timing of it.”
“The whole process has been long, drawn out and time consuming for everyone involved but we at Gateshead Thunder fought with everything to ensure that Puna was able to have the opportunity to play.”
“We still want Puna as a Gateshead Thunder player but it is hugely disappointing that he has decided to stop his application.”
Thunder picked up their first win of the season with a 41-36 defeat of Sheffield on Thursday.