Wasps suspend Powell and Payne
April 20, 2011
Andy Powell becomes the second Wales Test player to be suspended by his club in 24 hours after French club Toulon imposed a week-long ban on Gavin Henson yesterday © Getty Images
Wasps' Andy Powell and Tim Payne have been suspended with immediate effect following an incident in a London pub on Monday night.
The two internationals were drinking in the Walkabout pub in Shepherds Bush when an altercation took place with a group of men during which Powell says he was "kicked and punched by around 10 people" before he was struck on the head with the stool.
"I was knocked to the ground by a gang who then started to kick and punch me," Powell told the Daily Telegraph. "It was pretty scary. I curled up into a ball and put my hands over my face and temples but couldn't cover the back of my head.
"I was then hit by a bar stool and lost consciousness after that but I suffered a pretty bad cut. There was blood everywhere. I think I lost around two pints of blood in the pub and was taken away in a wheelchair and then taken by ambulance to a hospital where they stitched me up."
Recalling the events leading up to the attack, the 29-year-old added: "A load of QPR fans came into the pub after their match and I think they heard my Welsh accent and started giving me a bit of stick. We started singing a few songs and exchanging a bit of banter but then it all kicked off. I was asked by the police afterwards if I wanted to press any charges but I said I just wanted to forget about it and move on."
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "Officers were called at 22.30 to reports of an altercation at the Walkabout Public House on Shepherds Bush Green, W12. An incident is being investigated by officers from the violent crime unit at Hammersmith and Fulham police. No one has yet been arrested and our enquiries are ongoing."
No.8 Powell became the second Wales Test player to be suspended by his club in 24 hours after French club Toulon imposed a week-long ban on Gavin Henson. England prop Payne, meanwhile, has won 22 caps, although he did not feature in Martin Johnson's autumn Test or Six Nations plans this season.
In a statement, Wasps said: "London Wasps have today suspended Andy Powell and Tim Payne with immediate effect pending an internal investigation. The club is not in a position to disclose any further details at this stage and will not comment again until the internal investigation has concluded."
Medical student Hal Munton, 20, told Press Association Sport that he did not see how the incident involving Powell began, but that he provided his t-shirt to compress a cut on Powell's head after witnessing the incident. Mr Munton posted a picture of a man he says is Powell on Twitter, lying face down on the floor being tended to by police. "They battered him. It was four or five against one. There were chairs and glass and fists," said Mr Munton, who was in the pub having been to the QPR-Derby game.
"Then they scarpered. It was crazy. I haven't seen a fight like it. Once he was on the floor he didn't have a hope in hell. He had a big cut on the top of his head. When he was on the ground they were kicking him. One of them threw a pint glass down at him before they left."
Powell joined Wasps last summer from Cardiff Blues and forced his way back into Wales contention during the autumn internationals before starting the Six Nations opener against England in February. He is no stranger to controversy having been kicked out of Wales' Six Nations squad by coach Warren Gatland last year after being arrested for taking and driving away a golf buggy following a dramatic victory over Scotland.
Powell was arrested near a motorway junction close to Wales' training base in the Vale of Glamorgan. He subsequently pleaded guilty at Cardiff Magistrates' Court to driving a mechanically-propelled vehicle while being unfit through drink. He received a 15-month driving ban and was also fined.
Wasps played Leeds Carnegie in the Premiership two days ago, a game that Payne started but did not include Powell. Their next match is at Twickenham on Saturday, when they host Bath.
Payne, 31, is currently a fringe candidate for England World Cup squad selection later this year. He has not featured for England since the second Test against Australia 'Down Under' last summer, and is behind the likes of Andrew Sheridan and Alex Corbisiero in manager Martin Johnson's current pecking order.
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