Ben Tameifuna has been suspended for five weeks after pushing referee Glen Jackson during a New Zealand Cup match.
The incident in question occurred during Waikato's 22-16 win against North Harbour in Auckland last weekend. Defending their line late on, Tameifuna pushed Jackson to the ground, before receiving a yellow card for a separate infringement.
Citing commissioner John Wootton deemed the push contrary to the spirit of good sportsmanship, although Tameifuna’s post-match apology to Jackson helped reduce the size of the ban.
Tameifuna insisted that the push was instinctive rather than malicious, but the NZRU has chosen to take a tough stance against any abuse of match officials.
'It is imperative that players instinctively know that it is never, under any circumstances, appropriate for a player to abuse, verbally or physically, a match official,' said judicial officer Chris Morris.
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