Highlanders hooker Andrew Hore will miss the opening round of Super Rugby in 2013 after he was given a five week ban for striking.
All Black hooker Hore was found guilty of striking Wales lock Bradley Davies in New Zealand's 10-33 victory at the Millennium Stadium.
The Test match against Wales is the All Blacks last match for 2012 so the ban runs from now until February the 24th 2013.
The ban means that Hore will miss the Highlanders opening match against Super Rugby champions the Chiefs on Friday the 22nd.
International Rugby Board (IRB) judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar of Scotland said that held the act of foul play was inherently dangerous, being a deliberate swinging of the arm, delivered with significant force, causing serious injury to the victim player, Bradley Davies, who was unsighted.
Davies was taken to hospital after he was hit from behind by Hore inside the opening minute of the Test match.
The judicial officer did however find that Hore did not intend to make contact with Davies head and was therefore a little more lenient.
Crerar initially wanted to give Hore an entry point ban of 8 weeks but noted Hore's acceptance of guilt by the player, his genuine remorse, as evidenced by his daily contact with the injured player, his exemplary disciplinary record, and his conduct throughout the hearing and imposed a suspension of 5 weeks.
The Judicial Officer held that there were no aggravating factors. The Judicial Officer acknowledged the mitigating factors of The Judicial Officer heard submissions in detail as to when the suspension should end given that the player was entering the close season.
In addition, the Judicial Officer received unreserved assurances from New Zealand Assistant Coach Ian Foster, the player and his legal representative that the pre-season matches to be played by the Highlanders during the weekends of 1st, 8th and 15th of February all had significant and meaningful consequences for the player in accordance with IRB Regulation 17.
In 2011 the former Hurricanes captain Hore was sacked by coach Mark Hammett and joined the Highlanders.
In 2005 Hore was one of three men convicted and fined for killing a protected fur seal on the Otago coast, a crime described by Judge Peter Rollo as a "grossly irresponsible, spontaneous act of hooliganism".
Hore was also charged with a firearms offence for possessing a semi-automatic shotgun but the charge was withdrawn by police and he was granted a diversion after he paid $500 to a charity, forfeited the firearm involved and voluntarily surrendered his firearm licence for two years.
Reports said that the that a member of a 45-strong tourist group viewing wildlife on a nearby beach caught the incident on video and at least 15 shots could be heard on the video.