An ex-Super Rugby player has denied assaulting a teammate at a party after they lost a match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Amanaki Lelei Mafi (28) was arrested following the alleged attack on fellow Rebels forward Lopeti Timani in South Dunedin after his side's loss to the Highlanders and subsequent exit from the Super Rugby competition in July. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years' jail.
A plea of not guilty was today entered and trial by jury elected on the charge.
The alleged incident followed the Rebels' 43-37 loss to the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night. Timani and Mafi were reportedly drinking at a house in south Dunedin when things turned sour and Mafi allegedly attacked his teammate.
Court documents say the flashpoint happened the following day.
The loss meant the Rebels missed out on making the Super Rugby playoffs.
Both players were slapped with A$15,000 (NZ$16,300) fines for their involvement in the late-night bust-up.