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Rebels star in police custody

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Rebels star in police custody after allegedly assaulting teammate

Rugby Australia have confirmed that Melbourne Rebels Number Eight Amanaki Mafi is in the custody of the New Zealand Police after an alleged assault on teammate Lopeti Timani.

According to Fox Sports, the alleged assault occurred in Dunedin following the Rebels’ 43-37 loss to the Highlanders on Saturday night.

Mafi is expected to face charges following the incident.

The defeat against the Highlanders – as well as the Sharks’ early morning victory over the Jaguares – meant the Rebels were pushed out from their position of 8th on the ladder and officially ruled out of the playoff race.

A spokeswoman for New Zealand Police said that a “man has been charged with injuring with intent”.

“The man is due to appear in the Dunedin District Court on the 16th July 2018.

“The alleged victim, also a 28-year-old man, received moderate injuries following the incident.

“He did not require hospitalisation. The pair were known to each other.

“As the matter is now before the court Police are not in a position to comment further.”

While Police didn’t name the players involved, the Rebels and Rugby Australia confirmed it was Mafi and Timani when they issued a joint statement Sunday night.

“Rugby Australia and the Melbourne Rebels are aware of an incident involving Rebels players Amanaki Mafi and Lopeti Timani in Dunedin overnight,” the statement reads.

“Both players remain in New Zealand with Mafi currently in Police custody following an altercation between the two players.

“Rugby Australia understands that no other players were involved in the incident.

“As it is a Police matter, Rugby Australia, the Melbourne Rebels and the Rugby Union Players Association are unable to make further comment at this time.”

Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson expressed his disappointment, saying in a statement “I am bitterly disappointed that an incident has occurred at the end of a season where we have taken pride in our on and off field behaviour.

“We will respect the process and won’t be making further comments until all investigations have taken place.”

Both Mafi and Timani are off contract after this season. Timani is set to head to France and join Top 14 side La Rochelle next season, while Japanese international Mafi has been linked with a move to the Sunwolves.

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Rebels star in police custody after allegedly assaulting teammate