Referee Stuart Barnes spotted the punch as it happened right in front of him. He took no time in sending off the big Fijian, who was apparently provoked.
"Like any other rugby player, Yates understood it was a spur of the moment thing and accepted Sireli's apology. He actually admitted he was being cheeky and understood why Sireli did what he did during the final," team manager Epeli Lagiloa said.
"In the end they made up and like brothers shared a laugh over the incident. Yates said he had intimidated Sireli and resulted in being punched up," he added.
New Zealand won the match 29-7.