A club rugby player has been banned for life after he allegedly punched a referee from behind during a match in Manawatu.

The alleged incident happened during a match between the Linton Army and Freyberg B teams yesterday, Fairfax reported.

The referee was taken to hospital and needed stitches.

It is alleged that he was punched by a Freyberg player shortly after he blew the whistle for fulltime.

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Freyberg lost the match by five points.

The Freyberg Rugby Club board met this morning and decided to ban the player for life.