PAPUA New Guinea pair Francis Paniu and Enoch Maki are in jeopardy of seeing their moves to Hull KR derailed by visa problems.
The duo remain stuck in PNG and have been told it will be a further two months at least before any possible arrival.
Having missed an English proficiency test called an IELT in November because they were in the United Kingdom for the World Cup, the pair as well as fellow Kumuls Mark Mexico and Jason Tali must now until mid February.
The tests are independently administered by the Port Moresby International School with the results going to the British High Commission for evaluation.
Rovers announced they had signed the 24-year-old pair on one-year deals during the recent World Cup, subject to the proviso they would be granted the relevant paperwork.
Obtaining that necessary paperwork is, however, proving a stumbling block, with the proposed moves in real danger of falling down as a result.
Prop Maki featured in two of the three games the Kumuls played at the World Cup, but winger Paniu didn’t feature as they bowed out of the competition at the first hurdle.
The Western Highlander said it was frustrating but he and the other players, who are in the Queensland Cup side SP Papua New Guinea Hunters training camp at the moment, were just being patient and hoping to get the visas requirements out of the way as soon as possible.
Although they arrived in the UK as members of the PNG squad, the duo are struggling to get through the red tape which will allow them to be employed as Super League players.
Those difficulties mean they have yet to check in at Craven Park.
While the rest of the Robins’ squad are being put through their paces ahead of the start of Super League, Maki and Paniu (pictured above) remain in their homeland trying to sort their visas.
One of the most significant dates in the application process will arrive next month when the pair have to undergo an English test.
If they pass the written and spoken test, they will stand a far higher chance of being allowed to work in the UK.
Even if they do pass, the duo will be a long way behind the rest of their team-mates in terms of fitness when they eventually land.
Maki has a number of quality props ahead of him in the pecking order, including Mick Weyman and Justin Poore, who have both played State of Origin during their NRL careers.
Paniu is in a similar, as he has Dave Hodgson, Super League’s fourth most prolific try scorer, ahead of him, as well as the returning Ben Cockayne.
Coach Craig Sandercock is fully aware of the obstacles in front of the Papua New Guinean pair regarding their visas, and has not planned them into his thoughts for the new season.
If they do arrive, Maki and Paniu are expected to spend their early days playing for partner club Gateshead, who will be coached next season by Stanley Gene in the Championship.
Gene was one of the first PNG players to pull on a Rovers shirt back in 1996 following a string of appearances in the World Cup.
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Downer Rugby League 9s World Cup
- PNG Kumuls 0 Australia 26
- PNG Kumuls 18 New Zealand Kiwis 18
- PNG Kumuls 23 USA Tomahawks 10
Pacific Test Results
201 9 - PNG Kumuls 28 Great Britain Lions 10
2019 - Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 20
2019 - PNG Kumls 6 Samoa 24
2018 - PNG Kumuls 26 Fiji Bati 14
2017 - PNG Kumuls 32 Cook Islands 22
2016 - PNG Kumuls 24 Fiji Bati 22
2015- Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 22
World Cup Results
Round 1 : PNG Kumuls 50 Wales 6
Round 2: PNG Kumuls 14 Ireland 6
Round 3 PNG Kumuls 64 USA 0
Quarter Finals : PNG Kumuls 6 England 36