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Australia skipper left ‘heartbroken’ after attack by thug fractures his skull

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Adam Ellis

Australia Sevens captain James Stannard has spoken to the media after an unprovoked attack outside a kebab shop in Sydney left him with a fractured skull and small haemorrhage on the brain.

A veteran of 245 matches on the HSBC World Sevens circuit, Stannard talked at length about how he has no memory of the punch which struck him following a team dinner.

“I’m very lucky,” the 35-year-old conceded. “I’m not angry, I’m just a bit heartbroken.

“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.

“I’m very lucky to be here.”

Stannard leads the conversion charts after six rounds of this year’s Sevens series with 72 successful attempts, and he explained he will take the time necessary to fully recover after doctor’s were positive there would be no long-term effects.

The team’s skipper even holds hopes of travelling to the Commonwealth Games to support his team-mates, who came to his aid after the attack by the British man on Good Friday.

“To be honest I’ll try and get out there and support them but my priority’s just to get a lot of rest between now and then,” Stannard said.

“I’ll get a full recovery but just total rest at the moment. Hopefully in about six weeks time, if everything’s going to plan, I can start training.”

After the attack, Stannard’s team-mates Lewis Holland and Ben O’Donnell chased the assailant and pinned him down until police arrived to arrest him.

Actions Stannard had nothing but appreciation for as the battle for the gold medal on the Gold Coast gets underway on Friday.

“My bond’s amazing with those blokes, I don’t know if I’d be here without those blokes.

“I’ve messaged them personally and words can’t describe how much I appreciate them being there.”

Stannard aims to return to the field for the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco this July.

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