BaaBaas player charged with sexual assault
NEWS: Eddie Jones’s return to rugby coaching after quitting the Australia job has been overshadowed by sexual assault charges being made against one of his players in the Barbarians squad.
Fijian Api Ratuniyarawa appeared in court in Cardiff on Saturday hours before the Jones-coached invitation squad were due to face Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
The 37-year-old lock, who was called up as a late replacement in the Fijian World Cup squad, appeared at magistrates’ court, accused of sexually assaulting three women at a Cardiff city centre club between October 31 and November 1
Ratuniyarawa, who had been due to start on the replacements’ bench in the non-cap international, denied the charges and was subject to a “stringent bail” before the case reaches Cardiff Crown Court on December 4.
The three alleged incidents were said to have occurred at the Revolution bar in Cardiff city centre in the early hours of the morning while the former London Irish player Ratuniyarawa was on a night out with the Barbarians’ players.
Prosecuting, Michael Evans, told the court Ratuniyarawa was accused of penetrating two of the women with his finger and touching the breast and body of a third woman.
A Barbarians spokesman said: “As soon as we were contacted by South Wales Police we cooperated fully, assisting them with their enquiries. On their advice we can’t comment any further as the investigation is ongoing.”
Ratuniyarawa, who also played in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, has had a distinguished career in England with Irish and Northampton and in France with Agen.
Barbarians – revised: 15 Ilasia Droasese, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Izaia Perese, 11 Selestino Ravutaumada, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Rob Leota, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Angus Bell, 17 Asafo Aumua, 18 Peni Ravai, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Tom Hooper, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Ben Donaldson, 23 Andrew Kellaway.
Date: Saturday, November 4
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy), WRU appointment
TMO: WRU appointment