Wallabies flanker Lopeti Timani says he has struggled with his mental health since being the victim of an attack by former Melbourne Rebels teammate Amanaki Mafi in New Zealand.
Timani released a statement following the sentencing of Japanese international Mafi at a Dunedin District Court on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old was discharged without conviction but ordered to pay $50,000 reparation to Timani after pleading guilty to assault with intent to injure.
The incident took place in Dunedin in July last year, in the early hours of the morning following Melbourne’s loss to the Highlanders to end their Super Rugby season.
The Tongan-born pair, who knew each other as children, engaged in a fight which ended with Timani being repeatedly punched to the head.
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Timani, 29, who now plays his rugby in France, released a statement to Stuff outlining the personal cost of the attack.
“Working in an industry that markets itself of men being tough, strong and unbreakable made it challenging at times to speak out,” Timani said.
“I have been battling issues of PTSD, depression and anxiety following the incident which has taken its toll on me personally and professionally.
“Going through this drawn-out process has also caused irreparable damage to my professional reputation through incorrect reporting by the media and defamatory statements but I felt it was important to stand up to this type of behaviour and this person.”
Star Japan loose forward Amanaki Mafi has avoided a conviction for attacking a former teammate.https://t.co/fMAoWYCPEo
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 17, 2019
Back-rower Timani played 12 Tests for Australia in 2016-17, having represented the Waratahs for two seasons and then the Rebels for five.
He hoped Mafi’s guilty plea, apology and reparation would bring a sense of closure.
Japan-based Mafi has represented the Brave Blossoms since 2014 and played twice during their run to the quarter-finals as hosts of this year’s World Cup.
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