South Otago club rugby player Vaea Uelese has been banned from playing rugby for life after punching a referee during a match.
Uelese, who played flank for the South Otago side Crescent, was sent off in the match against Strath Taieri in Middlemarch, Otago, in late July.
He had just been given a red card when he allegedly punched referee Brandon Hale. The incident was filmed by a spectator and the footage circulated on social media.
Uelese avoided a criminal conviction for assault for punching Hale after being sent off in a club final earlier this year, but was banned by the Otago Rugby Football Union.
However, he will be allowed to be involved in administration, officiating or coaching after the end of next season, partly due to a reconciliation process he had with the victim.
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