Mafi free to play in World Cup after assault trial delayed

Cape Town - Japan No 8 Amanaki Mafi will be available for the upcoming Rugby World Cup after the date for his assault trial was set for next year.

The back-rower was charged with intent to injure following an altercation with former team-mate Lopeti Timani on July 15 last year.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and the trial is set to begin on January 27, two months after the global tournament has finished.

Before the incident, Mafi was in negotiations to extend his contract at the Melbourne-based Rebels, but returned to Japan after he and Timani were fined A$15 000 by the franchise.

Mafi featured for the Sunwolves in the 2019 Super Rugby campaign and played for the national team in the recent Pacific Nations Cup, with the Japan Rugby Football Union stating that they would not make a decision on his future until criminal proceedings had ended.