Australian Rugby Captain Suffers Fractured Skull After Unprovoked Attack


Australian sevens rugby captain James Stannard will miss this year’s Commonwealth Games after fracturing his skull in “alleged unprovoked assault”, police and Rugby Australia have said.

The 35-year-old sevens star was at a farewell dinner for outgoing head coach Andy Friend, before allegedly being punched in the head, causing him to fall and fracture his skull.

“As a result, he fell and struck his head on the pavement,” police said in a statement.

Rugby Australia said Stannard was in hospital in a stable condition and would miss out on the Commonwealth Games, which will be held on the Gold Coast from April 4-15.

“Right now, he’s got some time to heal and he’s not available for the Comm Games,” Rugby Australia’s high-performance general manager Ben Whitaker told reporters in Sydney.

“It’s obviously a massive disappointment for all of us and James and his family.

“Once that’s all sorted, then we can look at how he can return to play.”

The attacker was apparently detained by two of Stannard’s  teammates Lewis Holland and Ben O’Donnell, until police arrived.

“The 22-year-old man who threw the punch then fled the scene, but was apprehended by witnesses until police arrived and placed him under arrest,” NSW Police added.

The British man, charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, was granted conditional bail Friday and is due to return to court on April 19.