New Zealand Rugby have thrown a potential career lifeline to Waikato winger Sevu Reece after he lost a two-year deal with Irish club Connacht following a discharge without conviction for domestic violence.
New Zealand Rugby and Waikato Rugby have concluded a misconduct hearing with Reece, NZR said in a statement.
New Zealand Rugby Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum said while the misconduct process was a confidential employment process, in the interests of transparency, Reece and NZR had agreed to some details being released.
"Sevu has accepted responsibility for the situation, is remorseful and is undertaking a suite of counselling and help programmes. He was suspended for one match, a sanction he served when he was not part of Waikato's Ranfurly Shield match against Otago on Saturday.
"We continue to encourage Sevu as he seeks to make improvements in his life. Sevu has also asked to be taken out of consideration for the Duane Monkley Medal, awarded to the best Mitre 10 Cup player of the year," Lendrum said.
Any future employment with rugby in New Zealand would be dependent on him completing the help programmes, Lendrum said.
That comes after Reece had a deal with Connacht fall through following the court decision.
Judge Denise Clark said on October 1 a conviction would have ended the Fijian-born player's Irish contract - and that would have been out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending.
However a few days after the court decision, Connacht announced they would discontinue the deal anyway.
"Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have taken the decision, following contact with Sevu Reece in relation to the circumstances of a recent court appearance, not to proceed with a contract to play with the province," a statement said.
The court heard that in the early hours of July 1, a heavily intoxicated Reece got into an argument with his partner of two years in the Hamilton central business district.
Reece yelled at his partner to "shut up, in much more colourful language than that", and chased her down the street, dragging her to the ground.
She suffered bruising to the side of her face and waist and bleeding to her knee.
The police prosecutor said Reece was already on notice after being blacklisted by police and his offending comes at a time when the government was spending large amounts of money to deter family violence.
But Judge Clark accepted that the victim had forgiven Reece, that the couple were undergoing counselling, Reece had admitted a problem with alcohol and had been sober for three months.
The rugby player had expressed remorse and apologised at a restorative justice meeting, and Reece was supported in court by a young woman and other associates.
Judge Clark took into account his early guilty plea, the fact it was his first time before the courts, his apology and that his Irish contract would help provide for his family.
Reece was ordered to pay his victim $750 within 28 days for emotional harm reparation.
On the single charge of common assault, he was discharged without conviction.