Australian rugby player discharged from hospital after attack by ‘UK backpacker’

Australian rugby player discharged from hospital after attack by ‘UK backpacker’

Australia’s Commonwealth Games rugby sevens captain James Stannard has been discharged from hospital in Sydney – two days after allegedly being assaulted by a British backpacker.

Stannard, who has been ruled out of the coming competition, required emergency hospital treatment in the early hours of Friday morning following a reported assault.

Police said two men had been talking outside a kebab shop in the coastal Coogee suburb when one allegedly punched the other in the head without provocation, sending him to the ground with a single blow.

Sam Oliver, who is reportedly from Newcastle and had been backpacking in Australia, has been ordered to appear in court charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on April 19.

The 35-year-old left hospital on Sunday morning – but is still suffering from dizziness.

It has been reported Stannard will speak to police on Sunday afternoon and the media on Monday.

Ben Whitaker, a general manager at Australian rugby’s governing body, said that Stannard was an “extremely important” member of the squad and they had been left “shocked” by the incident.

The captain, team mates Lewis Holland and Ben O’Donnell and coach Andy Friend had been out for dinner before the alleged attack, he told media on Friday.

In the seconds after Stannard was assaulted the trio chased down his assailant and held him until police arrived.

“They did what they had to do, such an unfortunate incident and something they had to do due to the state James was in,” Whitaker said.

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

He was expected to retire at the end of this season, having played for Australia since 2010.

In his debut year Stannard captained the side to victory at the London Sevens at Twickenham and played for Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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