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Rugby: Ene, Mufana suspended

By Shane Hurndell

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Asa Ene (23) and Angelo Mufana (on ground) were both suspended following last weekend's knockout punch. Photo / File
Asa Ene (23) and Angelo Mufana (on ground) were both suspended following last weekend's knockout punch. Photo / File

Napier Old Boys Marist midfield back Asa Ene and Taradale lock Angelo Mufana both received two-week suspensions at separate Hawke's Bay Rugby Union judicial hearings on Wednesday night.

Ene was ordered off after throwing a punch that knocked out Mufana midway through the first half of his team's 18-14 Maddison Trophy semifinal loss at Taradale. Union club development officer Gary Macdonald said Ene's suspension would take in the first two weeks of the Hawke's Bay club season next year.

Ene told his coaching staff the punch was his reaction to a knee to the jaw collected by his midfield partner David Benson.

Macdonald said Mufana was cited by a spectator at the match and that citing was upheld.

Mufana's suspension will take in tomorrow's final against Havelock North at Napier's McLean Park and the first round of the 2015 season.

Macdonald stressed the suspensions didn't include the Hawke's Bay Development team's matches this season or the annual Hawke's Bay Sevens tournament in February.

Mufana is a member of the Development team and, like Ene, has played at the Waipukurau-hosted sevens in the past.

Taradale co-coach Blair Cross said his club would decide today whether they would appeal Mufana's suspension.

"His head knock has ruled him out of the final which we accept, but the club may still want to go through the appeal process."

Napier Old Boys Marist assistant coach and Benson's father, Pat Benson, said his club had accepted Ene's punishment.

"We wish it never happened and we paid the price for it on Saturday. It's now time for us to move on and start planning for next year."

Benson pointed out the suspensions were a lesson for everyone. "People who know me know I don't tolerate foul play. I like to win games by fielding fit and fast teams who play fair ... that was also my approach when I was involved with the coaching at MAC," he added.

Tomorrow's final will follow a curtainraiser between the Hawke's Bay Magpies ITM Cup squad and their Waikato counterparts. That will be the Magpies' final rehearsal before opening their ITM Cup Championship campaign against the side that beat them in last year's final, Tasman, in Blenheim on August 17.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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