Toronto Wolfpack forward Darcy Lussick still in immigration limbo

By The Canadian Press
June 8, 2019 - 5:15pm

Australian forward Darcy Lussick remains in immigration limbo and will miss the Toronto Wolfpack's rugby league game Sunday in England against the Swinton Lions.

The 29-year-old Lussick was barred from returning to Britain last Monday by the U.K. Border Agency after a trip to Europe. The Wolfpack have been off since a May 24 road win over Sheffield Eagles.

At the time, a Wolfpack spokesman said Lussick had returned to Sydney, Australia, while club officials worked to rectify what was described as an "immigration technicality." The team said he was expected to be available for this weekend's game and the June 15 and 22 contests that follow in Toronto.

On Saturday, a club spokesman said Lussick was still in Australia with the club hoping he would be back for the games in Canada.

The six-foot-four, 251-pound Lussick joined Toronto in April 2018 after playing for the Manly Sea Eagles and Parramatta Eels in Australia's NRL. Lussick signed as one of Toronto's two marquee players, whose salary cap hit is limited to £150,000 (C$255,100).

Wolfpack players maintain homes in the north of England, near their training base in Manchester. They stay in temporary accommodations when they play games in Toronto.

Toronto (14-1-0) currently tops the second-tier Betfred Championship standings.

Meanwhile in the wake of Wolfpack CEO and chairman David Argyle stepping down in a racism scandal, the governing body of English rugby league has confirmed that it was first notified of an alleged incident on May 7.

Swinton Lions prop Jose Kenga went on social media this week to accuse Argyle of racism in the wake of the Lions’ 52-10 loss in Toronto on April 28. After approaching a teammate speaking to Argyle, Kenga says Argyle looked at him and said "Do they allow black people in Swinton?" and then laughed.

Kenga said he told Argyle "you can't say that in this day and age and he just laughed, brushed it off and handed over a drink token to me."

Argyle subsequently issued an apology first and then an open letter in which he said he was stepping down as CEO and chairman.

"I leave with a heavy heart as I have disgraced rugby and my family which I love," the Toronto-based Australian mining and resources entrepreneur wrote in the letter to Wolfpack fans.

In between his two statements on the matter, the Rugby Football League opened an investigation into the matter.

"We have a zero-tolerance approach to racist behaviour of any type," it said.

Kenga subsequently wondered openly why the RFL had taken so long to respond, saying he had raised the matter immediately after the incident and "had followed protocol."

On Saturday, the RFL said it was verbally notified on May 7.

"The RFL sought written statements, with an agreement that pending receipt of those the matter would remain confidential," a spokesman said. "The RFL received those statements on Thursday evening (the same evening as Jose Kenga's original tweet). An investigation was opened the following morning."

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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