A Waikato rugby winger is set to lose a two-year deal with Irish club Connacht after he was granted a discharge without conviction for domestic violence.
Sevuloni Lasei Reece, the second highest points scorer in the Mitre 10 Cup so far this year, was set to take up new deal in November.
Reece, 21, was handed the discharge without conviction by Judge Denise Clark in Hamilton District Court on Monday. The incident had left his partner bloodied and bruised.
Judge Clark said 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, according to The Irish Examiner, Connacht will discontinue the deal anyway.
"We are currently seeking to clarify information around the situation prior to commenting further on the matter," a club spokesperson told the The Irish Examiner.
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.