Verlinden gets clearance to join Featherstone

Featherstone Rovers have announced that forward Ryan Verlinden will be arriving in the UK next week after having his application for an Irish passport accepted.

Following the news of his Irish citizenship being confirmed last week, Ryan has had to apply for his Irish passport before being legally allowed to enter the UK to work and be registered with the RFL.

Whilst the paperwork from Dublin has not yet arrived with Ryan, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs was able to e-mail the citizenship confirmation over to Sydney but they still require one or two of the original documents that are in the envelope.

However, the staff at the Sydney consulate have confirmed to Ryan this morning that an emergency passport will be issued and he could collect it as soon as Monday and fly out straight away.

Talking exclusively to , Verlinden said :“I’m absolutely rapped that I’m getting closer to actually arriving in the UK. I was over the moon when I signed initially but the time it’s taken to get everything sorted has proved very frustrating for all concerned.

“Even today things got held up for a couple of hours due to all the traffic with Prince Harry in the city! It’s like a large weight has been lifted off my shoulders as I’ve been frustrated by the process as have the supporters and officials at Rovers, it’s a good job I’ve got big shoulders! It’s been important to remain positive though and now the time has finally arrived.”

Despite not playing competitively for a number of months, he insists he has kept fit and been keeping himself busy.

“I’ve kept training but it’s not the same as training with your teammates so I need to get up to speed. I’m also doing a degree at the moment to become a Primary School teacher so that has kept me very busy. In fact, I need to finish a 12,000 word report before I fly over.”

“I also want to experience a different culture; apart from visiting Auckland six times to play Rugby League, I’ve never been anywhere else so I’m lucky this opportunity has been given to me. I’m nervously excited but I should settle in well living with the other Aussie boys and I can’t wait to get started.

“I know in the north of England that people are really passionate about the sport so it’s a good place to play. One thing I’m looking forward to is hopefully going to a live darts tournament, I love watching it on the TV and I think Phil Taylor is immense. To be World Champion in your chosen sport 16 times is a fantastic achievement, the atmosphere at tournaments looks amazing so hopefully I will be able to attend in person.”