Rebels' Mafi appears in court on assault charge

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Super Rugby player Amanaki Mafi did not enter a plea and was remanded on bail when he appeared in a Dunedin court Monday charged with assaulting teammate Lopeti Timani.

The 28-year-old former Japan test player was charged with assaulting Timani with intent to injure, an offense which carries a maxium penalty of five years in jail. The alleged assault occurred early Sunday after the Rebels' 43-37 loss to the Dunedin-based Highlanders.

Mafi appeared before Justice of the Peace Robert Montgomery in the Dunedin District Court Monday. Lawyer Anne Stevens successfully applied for Mafi to be remanded without plea until Aug. 3. As a condition of his bail he is ordered not to associate with Timani and police did not oppose bail conditions.

Mafi is expected to return to Melbourne on Tuesday.

In a joint statement on Sunday Rugby Australia and the Melbourne Rebels said they were aware of an altercation between Mafi and Timani. Mafi was held in custody until his court appearance Monday.

A police spokesman said Timani received moderate injuries and did not require hospital treatment.

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