A Whangarei premier reserve rugby player has been booted out of the game for 77 weeks for threatening a referee.
Former league player Wiremu Te Iringa was already serving a two year ban dished out in August 2015 by Rugby League Northland.
The Hora Hora club prop Wiremu Te Iringa was handed the ban by a Northland Rugby Union (NRU) judiciary panel last night 7.
NRU operations manager Kyal Collins said the ban "is up there, it's one of the higher length bans we've given this year".
"The sanction handed out shows how seriously the NRU takes players, or anyone, verbally abusing the referee. This should send a strong message it will not be tolerated," Collins said.
Te Iringa had been yellow-carded for arguing with the referee at a game last month. He was then immediately red-carded for making ``serious threats'' to the referee.
The NRU would not specifiy the nature of the threats.