I value my role as a coach
Counties Manukau coach Tana Umaga has escaped with no more than a slap on the wrist for abusing match officials.
The New Zealand Rugby Union announced on Thursday that Umaga has been "censured" and issued with a "suspended two-match ban", following a misconduct hearing before judicial officer Chris Morris.
The misconduct was related to insulting comments directed at match officials, following Counties Manukau's NPC match against Auckland last week.
After hearing submissions in relation to the misconduct Morris issued the formal censure and imposed a two-match suspension, which is suspended until October 31.
The ban will come into effect in the event he is the subject of any similar misconduct in that time (duration of the 2013 NPC).
Umaga allegedly abused referee Glen Jackson in the players' tunnel, before entering the referee's dressing room to continue the verbal exchange.
Because the ban has been suspended until October 31, Umaga is free to accompany his side in Sunday's Ranfurly Shield defence against Taranaki in Pukekohe.
Umaga expressed his regret over the incident and said he looked forward to putting it behind him.
"I value my role as a coach and a leader and have learned from this situation," Umaga said.
"It is important that I learn quickly from my mistakes to improve and develop as a coach.
"I am pleased the hearing is over so I can to turn my attentions to keeping the Ranfurly Shield on Sunday."