Samoan player charged after incident that left Wales' Williams with broken facial bones

Wales sevens team

Samoa Sevens player Gordon Langkilde has been charged with assault after an altercation that left Wales’ Tom Williams with broken facial bones and two other players injured.

The incident occurred in the tunnel after Wales’ Rugby World Cup Sevens win over Samoa on 22 July in the United States.

San Francisco Police confirmed Langkilde had been arrested “on the charges of Aggravated Assault (felony) and Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury”.

The WRU also confirmed Williams’ injuries.

Langkilde was booked into San Francisco County Jail, a police statement confirmed, while an “active and ongoing investigation” took place.

San Francisco’s district attorney office confirmed Langkilde has been charged with four counts, which included one of assault and three of battery.

The charges include three felonies and one misdemeanour and a court hearing will be held on Wednesday, 25 July.

Police report

The initial police statement issued confirmed reports three Wales players were hurt during the tournament but says Langkilde is accused of assaulting two players.

The incident took place in a tunnel leading from the playing field to the locker room area.

The statement read: “Langkilde, a visiting rugby player (Samoa) is accused of assaulting two players of another visiting rugby team. A 26 year-old, male (Wales) sustained facial injuries and a 21 year-old, male (Wales) suffered broken facial bones. A third victim, a 24 year-old, male (Wales) sustained facial injuries during the incident.

“Langkilde was taken into custody without incident at his San Francisco hotel.”

The WRU says no Welsh player is facing any sanctions for the incident.

A WRU statement said: “Following the match between Wales and Samoa in San Francisco, an incident took place in the stadium tunnel which has led to the Samoa Rugby Union provisionally suspending one of their players. After a medical assessment relating to the incident, Wales’ Tom Williams was ruled out of action.”

World Rugby confirmed they were investigating the incident.

A World Rugby statement read: “We can confirm a Samoa player has been provisionally suspended from Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 following an initial investigation into an alleged incident in the tunnel area after a match between Samoa and Wales at AT&T Park on Saturday.

“The alleged behaviour is not aligned with the sport’s values and the excellent spirit in which this competition has been played by the 40 participating teams.

“World Rugby has instigated an investigation and the Samoa player will remain provisionally suspended until the final conclusion of that process.”

Wales were allowed to bring in Will Talbot-Davies to replace Williams on the final day but were defeated by Ireland 27-12 in the Challenge Trophy semi-final.

Gareth Williams’ side eventually finished 11th when they beat Canada 35-12 in their last game.

Samoan Rugby Union’s general manager of high performance Zane Hilton said the governing body were supporting Langkilde.

“Incidents of this nature are extremely disappointing and take the focus off the game itself,” said Hilton.

“The SRU is supporting Gordon with the investigations with World Rugby and the local San Francisco police. Our major focus is to support Gordon with every effort possible at this time.”

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BBC Sport – Rugby Union

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