Sevens captain James 'Chucky' Stannard hospitalised after punch

A British man has been charged with assault over an incident that left Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard in hospital with a head injury.

Stannard was taken to St Vincent's Hospital where his condition has since been stabilised.

Stannard was struck by a man in an unprovoked attack after reportedly having a conversation with him outside a fast food outlet, Rugby Australia said.

A man approached Stannard around 3am and punched him in the head.

"Every indication is that there will be no long-term damage to James, he'll be fine", he said.

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 vehicle accident, while his wife Kerri suffered a serious brain injury after a bike accident in 2010.

Stannard had only recently been appointed as captain for the Commonwealth Games, replacing Lewis Holland who is also out of the tournament through injury.

Along with coach Friend and teammates Lewis Holland and Ben O'Donnell, Stannard had been attending a farewell dinner for the departing head coach before the attack occurred.

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. He's had a clearance from the neurosurgeon, the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist as well.

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.

The father-of-two represented Australia in rugby sevens at the Rio Olympics and the last two Commonwealth Games.

On Thursday evening, members of the Australian team had surprised Friend with a farewell dinner at Coogee's Crowne Plaza, ahead of his contract expiring in July.

However, he said Stannard was likely to wait until Sunday to return home.

"I get it - people will assume because you're out at 3 o'clock in the morning that you're doing something wrong", he said.

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

He has been granted conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on April 19.

  • Angelo Rivera