Japanese club bans Amanaki Mafi
Japanese international Amanaki Mafi has been banned from team activities by Top League side NTT Communications Shining Arcs until a verdict is made in his assault case.
Mafi re-joined the Japanese club following a stellar Super Rugby season with the Melbourne Rebels.
The 28-year-old was charged with assault with intent to injure following an incident with Melbourne Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani.
It is alleged that after Timani sent an insult in the direction of one of Mafi’s female relatives. The former was then chased, tackled onto the ground and assaulted in the street.
Timani later said of the attack that he thought he was ‘going to die’.
Mafi’s charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, though his career may still be at risk even if charges are dropped as Top League sides have a history of dropping players who find themselves out of line.
New Zealand media reported earlier this month that a restorative-justice meeting between Mafi and Timani could take place before the case is resumed in September.
The Top League season kicks off at the end of the month when Mafi’s Shining Arcs play the Kobelco Steelers.
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