Super Rugby
George Moala charged with assault
ESPN Staff
May 13, 2013
Blues winger George Moala (l) fends off Colin Slade, Blues v Highlanders, Super Rugby, Eden Park, Auckland, April 5, 2013
Blues winger George Moala (l) will appear in court again in June © Getty Images

Blues winger George Moala has been named for the first time as the man facing charges of serious assault after a fight outside a bar on Auckland's K Rd. Moala's brother Siua also faces charges.

As reported in The New Zealand Herald, the pair appeared at the Auckland District Court this morning where name suppression lapsed. They were remanded without plea on bail to reappear next month.

Moala and his brother were arrested in April in relation to an incident that took place in the early hours of December 30.

Soon after the alleged assault, a police spokesman told the Herald that the victim had suffered "serious cuts" to his neck and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. His condition later improved.

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed it has begun misconduct proceedings against George Moala.

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen confirmed in a statement that the misconduct process would be put on hold until the conclusion of Moala's court case.

"When a player finds himself facing charges of this nature we treat it seriously but it's important that we do not pre-judge his right to a fair judicial process," Sorensen said. "It is a complex matter which is in the hands of George's lawyers and we are not able to comment further at this stage."

Blues chief executive Andy Dalton said the franchise would work with New Zealand Rugby and Moala's representatives on the misconduct process after the court case has ended.

Moala is the latest in a series of court appearance for high-profile New Zealand rugby players. All Blacks and Hurricanes player Julian Savea appeared in the Wellington District Court last month charged with assaulting his partner, Dawn.

Moala's team-mate, midfielder Francis Saili, has also appeared in court recently. He pleaded guilty in Manukau District Court to driving while suspended and is applying for a discharge without conviction.

After Savea's public fall from grace, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew ordered an independent assessment of how the union treats its players, particularly young ones.

The move came after players' union boss Rob Nichol suggested rugby professionals were predisposed to suffering behavioural and mental challenges because of factors such as performance and selection anxiety, loneliness, relationship stress, substance abuse, stress and a lack of social support.

© ESPN Australia / New Zealand and Sportal

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