16 Jul 2018

Melbourne Rebels' Amanaki Mafi released on bail after alleged assault

11:43 am on 16 July 2018

Melbourne Rebels rugby player Amanaki Mafi has been released on bail and will leave New Zealand tomorrow morning.

Melbourne Rebels player Amanaki Mafi appears in court.

Melbourne Rebels player Amanaki Mafi appears in court. Photo: RNZ

The number 8, who also represents Japan internationally, appeared before a justice of the peace in the Dunedin District Court this morning.

He spent yesterday in the custody of Dunedin police after being arrested for allegedly assaulting teammate and Wallabies lock Lopeti Timani.

The incident came after the team's season-ending loss to the Highlanders on Saturday.

Mr Mafi's lawyer, Anne Stevens, sought his release on bail without a plea being entered.

He has been bailed to two addresses in Melbourne and Japan, and is not allowed to associate with Mr Timani.

The 28-year-old has been charged with injuring with intent to injure, which carries a maximum sentence of five years' jail.

He stood quietly in the dock and did not speak to waiting media on his way out of court.

A Rebels' playing strip was visible underneath the green jersey he was wearing.

He was supported in court by Melbourne Rebels team director and former All Blacks team manager Tony Thorpe who told reporters they would not be answering questions.

Police indicated they were initially going to seek a ban on alcohol as a condition of bail, but were satisfied the non-association order would suffice.

The case will next be called on 3 August, though Mr Mafi's appearance was excused.

A police spokeswoman told the Otago Daily Times at the weekend that the charges stemmed from an episode in South Dunedin on Saturday night.

The victim received moderate injuries in the incident but did not need hospital treatment, she said.