Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard is in hospital after being the victim of an alleged coward punch attack at a late-night Sydney eatery.
Stannard was knocked to the floor in the alleged unprovoked attack at a kebab shop on
, in the eastern suburb of Coogee, at 3.10am on Friday.
The 35-year-old received a fractured skull in the attack, with his hopes of captaining Australia’s sevens team at next month’s Commonwealth Games now seemingly over.
Sam Oliver, a British backpacker charged over the attack, reportedly tried to flee the scene but was chased down by Stannard’s teammates who made a citizens arrest.
The 22-year-old from Newcastle, England, was held on Coogee Bay Road until police arrived. He has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
A witness told Daily Mail Australia that Stannard was left bloodied and unconscious outside the the kebab shop following the attack.
‘The guy was left on the ground, there was blood everywhere and he wasn’t moving,’ the witness said.
‘He just walked up and punched him.’
Stannard had earlier that night attended a dinner for departing coach Andy Friend.
Friend and two of Stannard’s teammates – Lewis Holland and Ben O’Donnell – chased down the backpacker as he attempted to flee the scene.
Police say the rugby star was outside the kebab shop when he was punched and fell to the ground, hitting his head on the footpath.
Moments earlier Stannard had been in a ‘seemingly nice’ conversation with Oliver.
‘When he fell to the ground he’s done some damage to the side of his head,’ Insp Steve Egbers said.
Oliver was granted strict conditional bail and will appear at Waverley Local Court on Thursday, April 19.
Stannard is currently conscious and in a stable condition at St Vincent’s Hospital.
The father-of-two represented Australia in rugby sevens at the Rio Olympics and the last two Commonwealth Games.
The incident comes after Stannard’s appearance at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was disrupted by the birth of his twin daughters 10 weeks early.
‘I didn’t think about rugby at all for about five days,’ Stannard said at the time.
‘It wasn’t a priority for me at that stage. The (Australian Sevens) guys were great. They said come back when you need to.’
Rugby Australia said in a statement they are working with NSW Police and would give an update on Stannard’s condition on Friday afternoon.