International rugby player Api Ratuniyarawa admits sex attacks in Cardiff days before game

Api Ratuniyarawa had been due to start from the bench for Barbarians against Wales in Cardiff on December 4. Credit: PA Images

An international rugby player has admitted sexually assaulting three women at bars in Cardiff days before playing for the Barbarians.

Api Ratuniyarawa, 37, who plays for Fiji, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by penetration and one charge of sexual assault at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday (3 December).

The 37-year-old lock was set to appear on the bench for the Barbarians against Wales at the Principality Stadium on 4 November this year, with the incidents happening on 31 October and 2 November.

Ratuniyarawa, of The Orchard, Kislingbury, Northamptonshire, denied two further charges of sexual assault relating to one of the three women.

Prosecutors said the pleas were acceptable to the Crown and invited the court to fix a date for sentencing.

Api Ratuniyarawa previously played for Northampton Saints before moving to London Irish. Credit: PA Images

The father-of-four had been without a club since Premiership side London Irish went into receivership in the summer. He had hoped his appearance for the Barbarians would lead to a contract with another club.

Defending the 37-year-old, Ruth Smith asked for him to be released on bail and for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

She said: “The defendant has been on conditional bail, and he is aware of the significance of his pleas and the type of sentence that flows from such pleas.

“He has been on very stringent conditions, and these are matters [that] arose out of primarily the consumption of alcohol.

“He is someone who has very fixed ties to the UK and has played rugby here for a significant number of years."

Ms Smith said Ratuniyarawa is not a flight risk.

Ratuniyarawa appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday. Credit: PA Images

She added: “The defendant is the sole breadwinner for the family. He was recently employed by London Irish, who in fact unfortunately collapsed in May 2023 and was present in Cardiff to play in a Barbarians game.

“It was hoped a contract might flow from that. That of course, because of these events, did not happen.

“Because of that, he has had to apply for benefits for his family. Again, those are not absolutely in place. He has various appointments in place in respect of securing financial stability for his family.”

Ratuniyarawa was released on conditional bail, including living at his home address and only travelling to Wales for appointments.

The case was adjourned until sentencing in January.

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