Last Updated: 14/08/19 7:25am
Japan forward 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 team-mate Lopeti Timani in Dunedin last July.
The alleged incident occurred after the pair had spent the night drinking with each other following the Rebels’ Super Rugby match against the Otago Highlanders.
Mafi, who spent the night in police custody following the incident, pleaded not guilty to the charge and will face trial on January 27, 2020.
Finding a date for the trial had been a problem with Mafi living in Japan and Timani in France, the upcoming rugby World Cup was also an issue in deciding the date.
Both players were fined 15,000 Australian dollars by the Rebels after the incident for breaching team protocols, and both players left for new clubs at the end of the 2018 season.
Mafi was called into the extended Japan training squad for the Rugby World Cup, which starts in Tokyo in five weeks, despite his legal problems and also played in the recent Pacific Nations Cup tournament.