Apakuki Ma'afu: Jersey Reds centre's career at club ends after 11-game ban

Apakuki Ma'afu
Apakuki Ma'afu won thee caps for Tonga and was playing for NSW Country Eagles in Australia's National Rugby Championship before joining Jersey in December 2016

Former Tonga centre Apakuki Ma'afu has played his last game for Jersey Reds after being banned for 11 matches.

The 33-year-old, who was retiring at the end of the season, was sent off for a dangerous tackle that left Ealing's Dean Hammond with a concussion and was cited for a separate charge of dangerous play in a ruck.

Ma'afu was banned for eight weeks for the tackle on Uzokwe.

He was given a further three week ban for the ruck incident.

"We all understand that in the current climate that any contact with the head is going to be subject to a sanction," Reds director of rugby Harvey Biljon told BBC Radio Jersey.

"I categorically believe there was no intention for Kuki to try and injure another player.

"Kuki has been a fantastic servant to the club, he has captained the club and we will be sad to see him go.

"He worked really hard to come back to rugby form a serious knee injury because he wanted to go out on his terms, giving everything he could back to the club.

"It's always going to feel like there's that little bit of unfinished business for him because he's worn the Jersey Reds shirt so proudly."

Ma'afu admitted the dangerous tackle charge, which saw him given a red card after the head-on-head collision.

It was deemed a high-end offence with a 12-game ban as the starting point, but Ma'afu was given four games off in mitigation.

He denied the charge of dangerous play in the 35th minute of the match, but after viewing video evidence an independent disciplinary panel found him guilty of the offence.

Jersey, who are second-from-bottom of the Championship, have five games left to play this season starting with their first home fixture in almost 15 months on Saturday when they entertain Nottingham in front of a crowd of 1,000.

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