James Stannard is heartbroken after a one-punch attack ruled him out of the Commonwealth Games.n rugby sevens captain James Stannard says he’s heartbroken but not angry after injuries resulting from a one-punch attack ruled him out the Commonwealth Games.
Stannard was allegedly struck by a British man in an unprovoked attack outside a Coogee kebab shop, in Sydney’s east, in the early hours of Good Friday.
“I’m very lucky … I’m not angry, I’m just a bit heartbroken,” Stannard told reporters on Monday.
“I’m a bit sluggish … I’ve got a fractured skull with a little bit of bleeding. I don’t really know the full extent to be honest, I’m not a doctor, but that just sounds bad to me.”
The 35-year-old, who is expected to make a full recovery, hopes to make it to the Gold Coast to support his teammates in the Games but says rest comes first.
“I’ll try everything I can to get right for the World Cup and have one last dance with (the) blokes,” he said.
He’s optimistic the team will win a medal at the Games despite his absence.
“They’re strong enough to get on with the job at hand and win,” he said.
The veteran, who is in his final season before retirement, is keen to play as soon as possible to make the most of his “limited opportunities” and hopes to train again in about six weeks.
He said the support he’s received following the attack has been “overwhelming”.
“I still haven’t got through all the messages I’ve got from mates, my family, even other players from other teams and coaches from all over the world have messaged me,” he said.
Stannard, who was attacked after dinner at a pub to farewell coach Andy Friend, doesn’t remember anything about the punch but is thankful his teammates were on hand to help.
“I don’t know if I’d be here without those blokes … Words can’t describe how much I appreciate them being there,” he said.
The 22-year-old British national accused of assaulting Stannard fled the scene before he was nabbed by two teammates – Lewis Holland and Ben O’Donnell – until police arrived to arrest him.
The man was charged and is expected to appear at Waverley Local Court on April 19.