Kerry Ilalio of the Rolleston club appeared before the Ellesmere sub union’s independent judicial panel, which included two lawyers, last week.
The judicial panel found Ilalio guilty of his actions, and sentenced him to a 60-week playing ban for the attack.
Ilalio had only returned to playing two weeks beforehand after serving a ban handed to him for foul play in 2018.
Ilalio’s victim, 20-year-old Prebbleton division two player Simon Lancaster, told Stuff he was at the bottom of the ruck when he got punched several times by the attacker.
“He punched me in the private parts and then the face,” he said.
“I grabbed hold of him and said there’s no need for that and obviously he took offence to that and held me down by the neck and started choking me. I was seeing stars at one point, it was real hard to breathe.”
Lancaster said the game continued for another three or four phases before the referee stopped the game after noticing that Ilalio was strangling his victim, with a Prebbleton player tackling the attacker to free Lancaster.
Ilalio was sent off, while Lancaster had to leave the field shortly afterwards due to difficulty with breathing, with the attack leaving him with a sore throat and difficulty swallowing the next day.
“I think four years off rugby should help learn the lesson, I don’t think going to the police is necessary,” Lancaster said.
Rolleston club president Paul Frewen strongly opposed Ilalio’s actions.
“Violence is not acceptable anytime, or anywhere,” he said.
“This type of behaviour is deeply concerning and does not reflect our values as a club.
“We have visited the player involved and are offering support and guidance.”
Frewen’s sentiments were echoed by Ellesmere sub union chairman Chris Thornley, who said he had not heard of a ban that long before.
“Up until now we’ve had one of the best track records of on field and off field behavior,” he said.
“For this to occur is quite stressing to be fair, there’s no place in the game for people like this.”
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.