Rugby: Otago club player faces life ban from game after 'disgracefully' punching referee

Calls have been made to ban an Otago club rugby player for life after video emerged of a referee being punched during a match.

Newshub understands the fate of the Crescent Rugby Club player will be decided by the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU).

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 threw the punch.

Strath Taieri president Shane Taylor's opinion was a lifetime ban from the game.

"We are certain the ORFU will will deal with it in the way they see fit," he told Newshub.

"It's really put a dampner on the game but the way Crescent dealt with it was admirable."

Taylor said the referee did a "great job" of officiating the game and hoped the incident would not deter him.

A police spokeswoman told Newshub an investiagtion was taking place but she could not comment further.

"Referees don't give up their Saturdays [sic] for this sh*t," a post in the Dunedin Club Rugby page says.

"Life ban, throw an assault charge at him as well."

The Facebook post 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.

The ORFU and other sources were contacted for comment.