3 Jan 2009

Former NZ league player facing serious assault charge

9:37 am on 3 January 2009

Former New Zealand rugby league player Lesley Vainikolo has appeared in a British court charged with causing grievous bodily harm following an incident in which a man was taken to hospital with head injuries.

The 29-year-old former Canberra Raiders player, who plays for Gloucester after switching to rugby union, was arrested after the incident outside a nightclub in Bath in October.

In a short hearing at Bath Magistrates' Court, he spoke only to confirm his name.

The case was sent to Bristol Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on 13 January.

Vainikolo represented New Zealand at Test level in rugby league and after switching codes made his England debut in last year's Six Nations after becoming eligible through residency.