Former Australian rugby sevens captain James Stannard has announced his retirement, three months after a one-punch attack had robbed him of a third Commonwealth Games appearance.
“It is with great sadness that I’m announcing my forced retirement from rugby as a player due to head injuries I recently suffered,” the 35-year-old posted on Saturday on Instagram.
“It has been my greatest honour and privilege to have been able to pull on the ” Green and Gold ” and represent my country beside my mates, men I count as brothers over the past decade or so.
“The international rugby family have been so supportive and I’m humbled and thankful.”
Stannard was discharged from hospital in April after the allegedly unprovoked Good Friday assault outside a Coogee kebab shop which left him with a fractured skull and forced his withdrawal from the Gold Coast Games.
The sevens’ veteran, who also played Super Rugby as scrum- or fly-half for the Brumbies and Western Force, was in his final season before retirement but had hoped to make a return at the World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July.
“I want to thank my family, teammates, staff and opponents both here in Australia and around the world,” Stannard added on Saturday.
“It’s been a fantastic ride, I’ve learnt so much and enjoyed every minute.”
He bows out as one of Australia’s most-decorated sevens players, the country’s top World Series points scorer and a Commonwealth Games bronze and silver medallist.