British man charged over attack on Australia rugby captain

Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard has been hospitalised over a one-punch attack from a British man in Sydney
Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard has been hospitalised over a one-punch attack from a British man in Sydney
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A British man has been charged with assault after Australia’s Commonwealth Games rugby sevens captain was rushed to hospital with a head injury.

The 22-year-old suspect, who has not been named, allegedly floored James Stannard with a single punch during an “unprovoked” attack outside a Sydney kebab shop in the early hours of this morning.

The player, 35, struck his head on the pavement and was taken to hospital where his condition has been described as stable.

His alleged attacker attempted to flee the scene, but was apprehended by witnesses until police arrived.

According to local reports, Stannard had been out for dinner with team mates ahead of the Gold Coast games in five days.

His fellow players are said to have been among the bystanders to apprehend the alleged assailant.

Inspector Steven Egbers, of New South Wales police, told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Two men were talking with each other, seemingly having a nice conversation and then one of the males has punched the other male in the head area, causing him to fall to the ground and he’s hit his head in the pavement.

“When he fell to the ground he’s done some damage to the side of his head and the offender ran off.”

Police said the incident happened about 3:10am outside a kebab shop in Coogee – a coastal suburb of Sydney – when he was “punched in the head in an alleged unprovoked assault”.

Stannard was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in the city centre where he is understood to be “in a stable condition with head injuries”.

“The 22-year-old British National was taken to Maroubra Police Station and is being charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm,” a force spokesman said.

The Briton has been bailed on “strict” conditions until an appearance at Waverley Local Court on 19 April 19.

Rugby Australia said it was “aware of an incident which has resulted in the hospitalisation of Australian Men’s Sevens player James Stannard in Sydney overnight”.

“Rugby Australia is working with NSW Police to investigate the matter and will provide a further update later today,” a statement said.

Stannard was made captain of Australia’s Commonwealth Games side earlier this month after skipper Lewis Holland was ruled out due to a hamstring injury.