Shining Arcs ban Amanaki Lelei Mafi until assault verdict is reached

Kyodo

Amanaki Lelei Mafi has been banned from team activities by the 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 15,000 Australian dollars for breaching team protocol 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 face the Kobe Kobelco Steelers.