Sydney - Australia's
sevens captain James Stannard will miss the Commonwealth Games
after being punched in the head in an "alleged unprovoked assault",
police and Rugby Australia said on Friday.
The 35-year-old, who had been at a farewell dinner for outgoing head
coach Andy Friend late on Thursday, was allegedly attacked in the Sydney
suburb of Coogee early on Friday, New South Wales state police said.
"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
with a fractured skull 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
Commonwealth 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 governing body said earlier that two of Stannard's team-mates
Lewis Holland and Ben O'Donnell, as well as Friend, detained the alleged
attacker - a 22-year-old Briton - 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 on Friday and is due to return to court on
Stannard was to lead Australia's sevens team at the Commonwealth
Games after injured captain Holland was ruled out earlier in March.
Rugby Australia said in mid-March that Friend's contract, due to expire in July, would not be renewed.
Current women's sevens coach Tim Walsh, who is leaving his role after
the Commonwealth Games, was selected as Friend's replacement.