Australia sevens captain suffers broken skull after assault

March 30, 2018

FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, Australia's James Stannard in action during the semifinal match against South Africa at the World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Sydney. Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard has been ruled out of the upcoming Commonwealth Games after sustaining a fractured skull after being punched by a man outside a fast-food restaurant early Friday morning March 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, FILE)

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia rugby sevens captain James Stannard was ruled out of the Commonwealth Games after his skull was broken in a street fight on Friday.

Stannard was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he was in stable condition with a fractured skull.

Rugby Australia said he was struck by another man at 3:10 a.m. It said New South Wales Police have charged a 22-year-old man for an alleged “one-punch” assault.

Stannard was with a group of teammates, along with coach Andy Friend, at the time of the incident. Stannard was struck by a man in an unprovoked attack after reportedly having a conversation with him outside a fast food outlet, Rugby Australia said.

Members of the Australia men’s sevens team were witness to the attack, and two of Stannard’s teammates, Lewis Holland and Ben O’Donnell, along with Friend, detained the man until police arrived.

The team had earlier been celebrating at a farewell dinner for Friend, who did not have his contract renewed by Rugby Australia and will leave the team this year.

Stannard, 35, played in a Commonwealth Games warmup match on Thursday in Sydney. The rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast is from April 13-15.

Stannard had assumed the captaincy in the absence of the injured Holland.

“They’re shocked and the team will have to show again that they are a very resilient team,” Rugby Australia high performance general manager Ben Whitaker said of Stannard’s absence.

Update hourly