Australian rugby captain suffers fractured skull in street attack

James Stannard was reported to have been punched in the head in the early hours of Friday morning in the Sydney suburbs.

Australia sevens captain James Stannard will miss the Commonwealth Games after fracturing in his skull in what was reported to be an unprovoked attack.

Stannard was due to lead his country in the upcoming Gold Coast Games on home soil, but was hospitalised after allegedly being punched in the head in the Sydney suburbs in the early hours of Friday morning. 

The 35-year-old, who is in a stable condition as he recovers from his injuries, was recently appointed as Australia sevens skipper following an injury sustained by Lewis Holland.

Rugby Australia high performance manager Ben Whitaker said: "The reports we have at the moment is it was an unprovoked attack and very unfortunate because it's obviously it's got James in a pretty bad way health-wise and obviously health comes first and footy second, but it's cost him another Commonwealth Games, which is disappointing as well.

"It would've been James' third Commonwealth Games.

"He's an extremely important member of our team both on-field and off-field and the team will have to show again that we're a very resilient team to get through this to support James a) to get healthy and b) to work their way towards gold at the Comm Games."

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Stannard was due to retire this season and Whitaker said it remains to be seen whether he will play again.

"We don't know that at this stage. We know that right now he needs some time to heal," added Whitaker.

"He's not available for the Commonwealth Games and that's obviously a massive disappointment for all of us and James and his family and then once that's sorted, we'll look at how he can return to play."