A ‘beautiful night’ that went horribly wrong
CHARLOTTE Caslick has told of the "beautiful night" that went horribly wrong when Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard was coward punched.
The Australian female rugby champion left Stannard, and her rugby player partner, Lewis Holland, a couple of hours before the incident occurred outside a Coogee kebab shop just after 3am on Easter Saturday.
Heartbroken by the injuries sustained, 35-year-old Stannard has been ruled out of competing in the Commonwealth Games.
"To have such an incredible night completely tarnished with that is really sad," Caslick said.
"James will miss his last Commonwealth Games. Hopefully he will make it back this season but it was heartbreaking for him and to see his family and how hard it was for them, was really sad."
Stannard was on his way to his hotel with teammates Holland and Ben O'Donnell after being out for dinner to celebrate coach Andy Friend, who will step down from his role after the Games.
The veteran sportsman was allegedly struck by a British man in the unprovoked attack.
"They weren't drunk," Caslick said of the boys, defending their right to be out at that time a week out from the Games.
"The event finished around 12. I think they just got caught up in the vibe and the time like most normal people would. His hotel was about 50 metres away from where it happened so he was on his way home."
Earlier that night, Caslick recalled friends and family gathering over dinner at the famous Coogee Pavilion.
"It was beautiful, everyone was having an amazing time. We were having such a lovely night celebrating Andy Friend, the men's coach and the legacy he's left with the program. Family and friends were there, parents were there. It was one of those rare nights that you don't really get to have as a professional athlete with everyone in the one place at the one time. So to get the phone call at 3.30am about what happened was really devastating."
Caslick and her teammates will travel to the Sunshine Coast on Thursday to train ahead of competition next week.
The Australian women's team are outright favourites to take home gold at the Commonwealth Games.
"Our chances are pretty good. We are in form and we've been playing really well," Caslick said.