WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Melbourne Rebels forward Amanaki Mafi was granted bail after being charged with assaulting teammate Lopeti Timani, reports said Monday.
Rugby Australia said Mafi was taken into police custody after an altercation with Timani following the Rebels' 43-37 Super Rugby loss to Otago Highlanders in Dunedin, New Zealand on Saturday. The 28-year-old appeared in Dunedin District Court on Monday charged with assault with intent to injure, an offence that carries a potential jail term of five years.
The Otago Daily Times reported that Mafi did not enter a plea as he was granted bail to one address in Melbourne for the next two months, then another in Japan for the following three months. The case will come before the courts again on August 3, although Mafi was excused from having to appear personally on that date.
News footage showed the player and Rebels' team director Tony Thorpe leaving the courthouse and refusing to comment to waiting reporters. A police spokeswoman told foxsports.com.au that Timani received "moderate injuries" in the altercation but did not go to hospital.
Mafi represented Tonga at the 2009 Under-20 World Cup in Japan and was selected for the Japanese national side in 2014 after moving to the Asian country.The powerful No.8 played in the 2015 World Cup in England including Japan's memorable 34-32 upset of South Africa in Brighton.
Meanwhile, Sunwolves forward Ed Quirk and Queensland Reds back-rower Caleb Timu were both suspended for two weeks by Super Rugby's governing body on Monday over separate incidents during a controversial Brisbane match last week.
Quirk was red carded for striking late in the first half of Friday's game and was cited to appear before a review committee. Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Nigel Hampton said Quirk's red card was upheld after reviewing the incident.
QUARTER-FINALS: The last eight!
Match draw for the quarter-finals has been released following the conclusion of Week #19, hosting quarter-finals will be the three 3 conference winners @crusadersrugby @LionsRugbyCo @NSWWaratahs and @Hurricanesrugby the best wildcard team pic.twitter.com/BBSgEWHhB3
Reds coach and former All Blacks forward Brad Thorn vehemently disagreed with the referee's decision and slammed Quirk's red card as nothing more than a "love tap" in Queensland's 48-27 win.
Timu was also suspended after pleading guilty to a reckless/dangerous charge arising from an incident in the 43rd minute of the match. Both Japan's Sunwolves and Reds missed out on the top-eight Super Rugby play-offs, getting under way next weekend.