Assault accused Mafi in Sunwolves' matchday squad
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Despite serious assault charges hanging over his head, former Melbourne Rebel Amanaki Mafi will return to Super Rugby action for the Sunwolves this weekend.
Mafi has been named on the bench for Saturday’s clash with the Queensland Reds in Tokyo.
The 29-year-old was added to the Sunwolves squad last week despite a court matter after allegedly bashing his then-Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani in Dunedin last year still being dealt with.
Mafi has pleaded not guilty to a charge of injuring with intent with the matter adjourned until March 27 in the Dunedin District Court.
The No.8 left Melbourne at the end of the year and returned to Japan where he had made 22 Test appearances including being part of the Brave Blossoms’ 2015 World Cup squad.
Mafi’s return for the Sunwolves is believed to be the first step in securing him a spot in Japan’s squad for this year’s World Cup.
— サンウルブズ/SUNWOLVES (@sunwolves) March 14, 2019
Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Gerhard Van Den Heever, 13 Sione Teaupa, 12 Michael Little (captain), 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Ben Gunter, 5 Tom Rowe, 4 Uwe Helu, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 James Moore, 20 Amanaki Mafi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Semisi Masirewa.
Date: Saturday, March 16
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 13.15 (14.15 Queensland time; 04.15 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Aki Aso (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)