Japanese rugby club bans ‘Amanaki Mafi until assault verdict is reached

Ta'ofi 'e he kalapu NTT Communications Shining Arcs 'oku va'inga ai 'a 'Amanaki Mafi 'i Siapani' ke 'oua toe va'inga kae 'oua leva kuo mahino 'ene hopo 'i hono tukuaki'i ia ki hono taa'i 'o Lopeti Timani'.

[KYODO NEWS] Japan international Amanaki Lelei Mafi has been banned from team activities by NTT Communications Shining Arcs until a verdict is made in his assault case, the Japan Top League side revealed Thursday.

Mafi is alleged to have assaulted Super Rugby teammate and fellow Tongan Lopeti Timani after their team, the Melbourne-based Rebels suffered a 43-37 defeat in Dunedin, New Zealand, in July. He is currently out on bail in Japan and missed Thursday’s hearing in Dunedin District Court.

New Zealand media reported that a restorative-justice meeting between the two players could still take place before the case is resumed on Sept. 11.

If the meeting between the two players — who were each fined A$15,000 for breaching team protocols and management instructions — is successful, Mafi may have to appear in court should sentencing proceed.

The Top League season kicks off on Aug. 31, when the Shining Arcs play Kobe Kobelco Steelers.

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