Rugby Union

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Rugby player given 10-year ban for horrendous incident with referee

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Today, the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union in Australia's New South Wales, have banned Maitland Rugby Club player Mark Meafua for 10 years after he pleaded guilty in a two-hour hearing to violently shoving a referee last weekend.

The incident occurred during the regional under 19's grand final between Maitland and Newcastle Wanderers.

In the end, Maitland were smashed 28-3, but no one is really talking about the match itself, they're talking about THAT incident with the referee.

Meafua, 18, was about to be shown a red card by the referee Niklas Gaal, 19, when he violently lashed out at the referee with an open palm, connecting with his neck and jaw and knocking him to the ground.

Gaal was not seriously injured and continued officiating the match until its end, but he must have been shaken up by the saga.

Meafua read a three-page apology during the hearing, which was not attended by Gaal.

He was given the ten-year ban on top of a ten-game ban for the illegal challenge that resulted in the red card.

Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union general manager Andy Fairfull told The Herald: "It is unacceptable to verbally or physically abuse a referee.

Watch the shocking incident for yourself in the video below.

Not what you want to see happen to a referee in any sport, at any level.

"The sanctions show that if you undertake that behaviour, you will be out of the game for a serious amount of time. But, as well as ensuring Nik's well-being, the union has an obligation to provide Mark with the appropriate support.

"Within that 10 years, the referee's association and Maitland club will work the young man to assist in some rehabilitation."

Meafua was also arrested at his home following the game, and has been charged with common assault.

His court date is scheduled for October 4.

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