A top international rugby star allegedly sexually assaulted three separate women as he partied with his team before a match he was supposed to play in today.
Fijian Api Ratuniyarawa, 37, had been due to play for the Barbarians against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff today.
Yet the 6ft 6ins London Irish lock forward, who weighs 19st 5lbs, was dropped from the squad and instead appeared in court after he allegedly assaulted three women in separate incidents at the Revolution Bar in Cardiff.
Ratuniyarawa had been out with other Barbarian players when he was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning and kept in custody.
Ratuniyarawa, from Orchard, Kislingbury, Northampton, was charged with sexual assault by penetration and by touching. He denies the offences.
Fijian Api Ratuniyarawa, 37, had been due to play for the Barbarians against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Pictured: Ratuniyarawa during Barbarians training in Cardiff on October 31
Yet following an incident in the Welsh capital, the 6ft 6ins London Irish lock forward (pictured with ball), who weighs 19st 5lbs, was arrested and kept in custody
Ratuniyarawa, from West Northamptonshire, was charged with sexual assault by penetration and by touching. Pictured: Ratuniyarawa tackling Ryan Elias during Fiji’s game against Wales at the Principality in Cardiff in 2021
Cardiff magistrates heard none of the women knew each other and the three alleged assaults happened independently of each other.
Second-row forward Ratuniyarawa, who has played for Fiji 38 times, was named as a replacement for the Barbarians team, which is largely made up of players from the Southern Hemisphere.
Prosecutor Michael Evans said: ‘Ratuniyarawa is accused of penetrating two of the women with his finger and touching the breast and body of a third woman.
‘The women were not known to each other or to Ratuniyarawa before the night in question.’
Ratuniyarawa, who spoke only to confirm his name and address, was remanded on ‘stringent’ bail conditions and put on an electronic curfew between 7pm and 7am.
Magistrate Peter Hamley banned the player from re-entering Wales until he appears at Cardiff Crown Court on December 4.
He is not allowed to enter any licensed premises selling alcohol, such as bars, clubs and restaurants and told not to contact any witnesses in the case.
A Barbarians spokesman said: ‘As soon as we were contacted by South Wales Police we cooperated fully, assisting them with their inquiries.
‘On their advice we can’t comment any further as the investigation is ongoing.’
Ratuniyarawa was set to receive £15,000 to play in the Barbarians match on Saturday
Ratuniyarawa was due to play for Fiji in the recent Rugby World Cup in France but pulled out of the squad in July for family reasons
It is considered a great honour to be picked for the Barbarians, a British-based invitation side dating back to 1890.
The team selected to play against Wales arrived in Cardiff at the start of the week and was seen out drinking in the city on several nights.
They also had a Wild West fancy-dress team meal at a French restaurant.
The team is being captained by Welsh rugby legend Alun Wyn Jones who is retiring after becoming the world’s most capped player with 170 appearances for Wales and the British Lions.
Players will be paid £15,000 for appearing in the game.
Ratuniyarawa was due to play for Fiji in the recent Rugby World Cup in France but pulled out of the squad in July for family reasons.
A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: ‘Api Ratuniyarawa, 37, from West Northamptonshire is due to appear before Cardiff magistrates charged with sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by touching.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk