Ben Tameifuna in court over driving issues

By COREY CHARLTON

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While four All Blacks enjoyed the adulation of their fans at various venues in the province yesterday, Ben Tameifuna, who was a teammate this year, appeared in the Hastings District Court.

The Chiefs and Magpies prop is alleged to have driven twice while disqualified.

His appearance in the dock, dressed in a polo shirt and shorts, was brief. He did not enter a plea and was remanded at large until next month.

Tameifuna had a standout season with the Chiefs and was a key component of their Super Rugby-winning squad.

The 21-year-old was also selected in June to be part of the All Blacks squad for the three-test series against Ireland. And while he never featured on the field, the future looked bright for the former New Zealand Under-20 star. He started the Magpies' ITM Cup campaign, but fell out of favour with selectors towards the end of the season. The union publicly stated he was overweight and lacking form.

Magpies coach Craig Philpott had started Tameifuna on his preferred tighthead position but switched him to loosehead a few games into the season before dropping him altogether from the 22-member squad on September 29 for the winning match against Bay of Plenty at McLean Park, Napier.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Mike Bishop declined to comment on Tameifuna's court appearance, saying it was "not a matter that concerned" the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union.

Neil Sorensen, NZRU general manager of professional rugby, said it was not appropriate to comment on a case that was before the courts.

"If there are issues relating to misconduct, and we are not making any assumptions, then these would be addressed as normal, at the conclusion of any court case," he said.

Tameifuna is today expected to be named in the Chiefs squad for the 2013 season.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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