Democratic Republic of the Congo-born Lions flank Vincent Tshituka has started the process that will see him become eligible to play for the Springboks.
The 23-year-old loose forward has been an outstanding player for the Johannesburg side over the past couple of years, but could not be considered for Springbok selection due to the fact that he travelling on a DRC passport.
According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, the Springbok management team told Tshituka to apply for a South African passport in early 2021. However, due to lockdown restrictions, the Department of Home Affairs was not accepting any new applications for permanent citizenship.
While the department has reopened for applications this month, Business Insider has reported that there is a backlog of over 30,000 applications.
“Vincent, with the help of his representatives, applied for the necessary documentation through home affairs,” Lions CEO and director of rugby, Rudolf Straeuli told Rapport.
Tshituka is currently recovering from a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him on the sidelines for two months. He is reportedly in demand overseas with English Premiership club Harlequins showing particular interest.
Tshituka’s contract with the Lions expires at the end of this year, but reportedly includes a clause allowing him to be released as early as July.
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