Australia sevens captain James Stannard suffers fractured skull in Sydney incident

02 April 2018, 10:09 | Kristine Mills

James Stannard is in hospital in Sydney

James Stannard is in hospital after being allegedly coward punched

Australian men's Sevens coach Andy Friend is still reeling from the events that put his Commonwealth Games captain James Stannard in hospital on Good Friday morning.

"The victim was taken to St Vincent's Hospital where he is understood to be in a stable condition with head injuries".

Police say Stannard was standing outside the kebab shop when he was allegedly punched in an unprovoked assault, causing him to fall and strike his head on the pavement.

Rugby Australia said two of Stannard's teammates Lewis Holland and Ben O'Donnell, as well as Friend, detained the alleged attacker - a 22-year-old Briton - until police arrived.

Channel 7 reported it was a number of Stannard's team mates who chased down the man and held him.

"Every indication at this point in time, is that there'll be no long-term damage to James, he will be fine".

A 22-year-old British man has been charged over the blow.

"I was really proud of them - it's one of those moments where you never know how people are going to react", he said.

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Stannard was appointed captain of Australia's Commonwealth Games side earlier this month after ex-skipper Lewis Holland was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Stannard was with a group of teammates, along with coach Andy Friend, at the time of the incident. He's had a clearance from the neurosurgeon, the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist as well.

A replacement for the double Commonwealth Games medallist will be named by Rugby Australia in due course.

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

Friend was told earlier this month that his contract with the team would not be renewed in July, but RA said they hoped he would remain with the wider organisation.

"I get it, people will assume because you're out at 3am that you're doing something wrong", he said.

"What staggers me is we can get to the stage where we feel we can act with such violence to an individual".

The British man, charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, was granted conditional bail on Friday and is due to return to court on April 19.



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