Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Donald cleared for Bath duty

Stephen Donald

Bath have signed New Zealand fly-half Stephen Donald on a three-year contract after a successful appeal to the Rugby Football Union.

The 27-year-old, who has won 22 caps for the All Blacks, has joined the Aviva Premiership side from Super 15 outfit the Chiefs.

Bath director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan told the club's official website: "We are very much looking forward to Stephen joining us here at Bath. He is a very effective, skilful player, with a lot of experience which will prove highly beneficial to the younger members of our squad and academy."

McGeechan added: "Players he has played alongside all speak very highly of his ability and in particular his character, and we expect him to fit in very well here at Bath, having a hugely positive influence on the squad on and off the pitch."

It had looked like the move would fall through when Donald, who has been plagued by injury, was last month refused an endorsement to play in England. But Bath successfully appealed the RFU's decision.

An RFU spokesman said: "The panel accepted that Stephen Donald is an internationally established player of the highest calibre who can play an important role in the development of the game at the top level in this country."

Donald can now apply to the UK Border Agency for a visa.

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