Australia sevens captain in hospital after head punch


Rugby Australia high performance manager Ben Whitaker said: "The reports we have at the moment is it was an unprovoked attack and very unfortunate because it's obviously it's got James in a pretty bad way health-wise and obviously health comes first and footy second, but it's cost him another Commonwealth Games, which is disappointing as well".

Stable condition: James Stannard was the victim of an alleged one-punch attack. He's had a clearance from the neurosurgeon, the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist as well.

He said he, Holland and O'Donnell chased the alleged attacker and held him down for about two or three minutes until police arrived.

Stannard was taken to the city centre St Vincent's Hospital where he is said to be "in a stable condition with head injuries".

Friend said he was standing near Stannard and saw his head hit the pavement "very hard".

"As a result, he fell and struck his head on the pavement".

Two players in the squad, including regular captain Lewis Holland, and Friend detained the man shortly afterwards and held him until police arrived, RA said.

A 22-year-old British man has been charged over the alleged attack outside a kebab shop in Coogee in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

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"Yep I get it, people will assume because you're out at 3 o'clock in the morning that you're doing something wrong", he said.

Friend said today that he has visited Stannard in hospital.

"I've been a coach for 23 years I've been to a lot of those events where you smell something going wrong".

"That night was just a lovely gesture from the team, there was a lot of positive energy and to be honest it was a night that I didn't want to finish".

The blow brought back awful memories for Friend who was the Brumbies coach in 2009 when Shawn Mackay died from head injuries sustained in a road accident in South Africa.

Stannard had played in a Commonwealth Games warm-up match in Sydney just hours before the incident.

"But I do know, as a group, we will rally and we will be out there aiming to get that gold medal".

Bailed on strict conditions, he is expected to appear at Waverley Local Court on April 19.