Blues lock Filo Paulo received a five-week ban for fighting during the North-South exhibition clash in Dunedin last Sunday
The match was played to help the cash-strapped Otago union settle their unpaid debts, which almost forced it to go into liquidation earlier this year.
Paulo, featuring for North, was cited for a punch on South and Crusaders lock Tom Donnelly during the first half.
Judicial officer Roger Drummond revealed that the usual penalty for this offence is eight weeks, but he took a few factors into consideration: Paulo’s relatively clean record, his early acknowledgement of the offence, the that he had expressed remorse and that he had apologised to the player concerned after the match, which the South won 32-24.
The suspension will still, however, see the player miss the rest of the Auckland franchise’s Super Rugby campaign.