Australian Rugby
Arrest warrant issued for Digby Ioane
ESPN Staff
June 24, 2013
Australia's Digby Ioane looks for support, Australia v British & Irish Lions, Tom Richards Cup, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, June 22, 2013
Wallabies winger Digby Ioane failed to appear at a court date to answer an assault charge © Getty Images

The Wallabies' horror build-up to the second Test against the British & Irish Lions has sunk to new depths with a warrant issued for the arrest of Digby Ioane.

The warrant was issued earlier today after he failed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court to face a charge of unlawful assault stemming from an incident in a Prahran pub on March 9. Ioane wasn't charged at the time, but he was stood down by Queensland Reds for one week after details emerged that he and his older brother were reportedly involved in a scuffle over a phone at Mount Erica Hotel. Victorian police formally charged Ioane on summons on May 17, when the 27-year-old was on tour in South Africa with the Reds.

Australian Rugby Union officials have acted quickly in an attempt to resolve the issue. "Since being made aware through media reports, ARU has worked expeditiously with Digby Ioane and Victorian Police to attend to this matter," the ARU said in a statement. "Digby will report to Victorian Police and will be issued with a revised court date."

The issuing of the warrant appeared to jeopardise Ioane's chances of featuring in Saturday night's clash against the Lions at the Etihad Stadium but he has subsequently been ruled out of that game and the remainder of the series with a shoulder injury he suffered in last weekend's 23-21 defeat in Brisbane.

George Smith is proud to be back in the Wallabies' fold

The end to the Wallabies' day marked a stark contrast to the moment earlier when veteran flanker George Smith fronted the media to declare his fitness for a fairytale return to the squad. Smith starred as a 20-year-old in the 2001 Lions tour here in 2001, playing a key role as Australia fought back from 1-0 down to claim an historic first series win, and the 110-Test great will become the first player in the professional era to face the Lions in two separate series if he is selected ahead of Liam Gill or Michael Hooper in Melbourne or Sydney.

Brumbies coach Jake White dismissed speculation last week that Smith would be fit to play the second Test, but the world-class No.7 insisted he was ready to go. "There's no confusion about my fitness or my knee injury or what not because it's not existent anymore," Smith said.


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