Australian international Lopeti Timani is facing a suspended six-month sentence after he was charged with throwing a bottle in a brawl outside a La Rochelle nightclub in May last year. The 29-year-old back row, who won the last of his twelve Wallabies caps in November 2017, is being prosecuted in France for “violence with a weapon” – in this case a bottle.
According to a report in L’Equipe, after being kicked out of the nightclub in 2019 for nudging a security guard inside the establishment, La Rochelle forward Timani threw a bottle which hit another security guard in the face. This man and one of his colleagues then attacked the player, one of the two guards hitting him with a security barrier as well as punching and kicking.
At a hearing in France on Monday, Timani apologised, saying he was sorry for throwing the bottle. “I didn’t want to hurt someone. I threw it without looking over my shoulder,” he said, adding that he had deliberately not reacted when he was then attacked. “If I had fought, it would have been the end of my career” at La Rochelle, Timani explained.
A decision on the case is expected on 14 September.
Timani joined La Rochelle after five Super Rugby seasons with the Melbourne-based Rebels and two more with the Waratahs. He featured for La Rochelle in nine of their 17 matches in the cancelled 2019/20 French Top 14.
In a statement released after he was awarded $50,000 reparation following an incident that took place in July 2018 following a defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin, Timani said: “I have been battling issues of PTSD, depression and anxiety following the incident which has taken its toll on me personally and professionally.
“Going through this drawn-out process has also caused irreparable damage to my professional reputation through incorrect reporting by the media and defamatory statements but I felt it was important to stand up to this type of behaviour and this person.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now