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Mafi assault trial set for after Rugby World Cup

Reuters WELLINGTON (Reuters) — Japan international Amanaki Mafi will stand trial in a New Zealand court next year for an assault charge, allowing him to play at the Rugby World Cup.

The 29-year-old loose forward was charged with intent to injure following an altercation with former Melbourne Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani in Dunedin in July last year.

The incident occurred after the pair had spent the night drinking together following a Super Rugby match. Mafi, who spent the night in custody following the incident, had pled not guilty.

He will face trial on Jan. 27, 2020, at the Dunedin District Court, Judge Michael Crosbie said on Wednesday.

“It’s not rugby season and the World Cup’s over,” the Otago Daily Times quoted Crosbie as saying in setting the date of the trial, which is expected to last three to four days.

The newspaper said the case had been called several times, but finding a date for the trial had been a problem with Mafi living in Japan and Timani, France, while the World Cup was also an issue.

Both players were fined 15,000 Australian dollars ($10,184) by the Rebels after the incident for breaching team protocols. They both left for new clubs after the 2018 season.

Despite his legal problems, Mafi played in the recent Pacific Nations Cup tournament.Speech

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