Stannard fractures skull after attack

Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard the victim of a 'one-punch' assault outside Sydney restaurant

A British man charged with assault over an incident that left Australia's Commonwealth Games rugby sevens captain with a fractured skull is understood to be Sam Oliver, 22.

There are doubts whether James Stannard will play in the upcoming Commonwealth Games as he remains in hospital.

Police said the incident happened at about 3.10am outside a kebab shop in Coogee, a coastal suburb of Sydney, when he was "punched in the head in an alleged unprovoked assault".

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

This isn't the first time Friend has dealt with a team facing emotional trauma - he was Brumbies coach when Shawn Mackay was killed in a auto accident, while his wife Kerri suffered a serious brain injury after a bike accident in 2010.

In an emotional press conference, Friend revealed the 35-year-old had been cleared by his neurosurgeon and an ear, nose and throat specialist.

They later said that Stannard had suffered a fractured skull in the attack.

The 2016 Olympian's withdrawal is a massive blow for the inexperienced side, with Stannard only assuming the captaincy this month in the absence of injured star Holland.

A British national has been charged over a coward-punch attack on Rugby Sevens captain James Stannard. Source Getty
A British national has been charged over a coward-punch attack on Rugby Sevens captain James Stannard. Source Getty

Friend said his family, Stannard and other rugby sevens players and staff had surprised him with an early farewell party, as the Commonwealth Games will be his last event as coach.

Stannard was with some of his Australia team-mates at the time of the apparently unprovoked attack, having earlier been at a farewell lunch for departing coach Andy Friend.

Friend said Stannard would likely attend the Commonwealth Games in a support role for the team.

The group are said to have been at a farewell dinner for Friend, who is expected to step down after the games, before heading to the Coogee Bay Hotel bar.

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

"We don't know that at this stage".

According to NSW Police, the individual arrested by police is alleged to be a British national and was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

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