Sexual assault charge casts shadow over Wales v Barbarians game

David Skippers
Api Ratuniyarawa World XV 2023 - Alamy.jpg

Fiji international second-row Api Ratuniyarawa.

The build-up to Saturday’s international between Wales and the Barbarians in Cardiff was overshadowed by a sexual assault charge laid against one of the Baa-baas players.

Api Ratuniyarawa appeared in court on Saturday just hours before the clash at the Principality Stadium but was released on bail and will appear at Cardiff Crown Court on December 4.

According to the Guardian, three alleged incidents were said to have occurred at the Revolution bar in Cardiff city centre between October 31 and November 1 while former Northampton Saints and London Irish second-row Ratuniyarawa was on a night out with his fellow Barbarians players.

South Wales Police said: “Api Ratuniyarawa, 37, from West Northamptonshire, was due to appear at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court this morning charged with sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by touching.”

Late withdrawal from Barbarians squad

The Fijian was named as a replacement in the Barbarians’ squad ahead of Saturday’s game but was a late withdrawal, with Wales international Aaron Shingler coming in to replace him.

After initially missing out on selection for Fiji‘s 2023 Rugby World Cup squad, Ratuniyarawa was called up during the tournament as an injury replacement for Temo Mayanavanua. Ratuniyarawa also represented his country at the 2015 and 2019 tournaments.

In a statement, the Barbarians 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.”

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