Rugby: Man charged with common assault after 'disgraceful' punch on referee

A man has been charged with common assault after a rugby referee was punched during an Otago club match at the weekend.

Police said, in a statement to Newshub, the 27-year-old man will appear in the Dunedin District Court next Tuesday.

The incident occurred at Middlemarch in rural Otago, in the senior final between Strath Taieri and Crescent on Saturday. The video shows the referee speaking with the Crescent player and issuing him a red card before the player allegedly threw the punch.

Meanwhile the fate of the player's future in the game will be decided by the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU).

The Otago Daily Times reported that Allan Thompson, Crescent's club captain, would not comment on the incident.

Strath Taieri president Shane Taylor told Newshub on Monday he believed the player should receive a lifetime ban from the game.

A video of the incident, which was posted to the Dunedin Club Rugby Facebook page, sparked outrage with hundreds expressing their disgust over the incident.

"Life ban, name and shame. That's disgusting," one said.

"Absolute disgrace," another wrote.

Strath Taieri won the match, having gone through the season undefeated.