Monday, November 2, 2009

Rugby League star Paul Whatuira tasered by police after alleged assault

It normally takes a couple of 16-stone forwards to bring down Rugby League star Paul Whatuira.

But when the 6ft former New Zealand international was arrested after an "unprovoked" street attack, police decided it was wiser to use a Taser gun.

The 28-year-old Huddersfield Giants player allegedly struck two men in an early morning confrontation in the town centre.

Hours later he was bailed and taken from police cells to a psychiatric hospital for a mental health check.

One of the attacked men has severe face injuries and a suspected broken jaw.

Whatuira, who weighs 14-stone, was arrested by police who had to call for back-up before using the stun gun.

It is understood the player, whose fiancée is pregnant, was being treated at a local hospital before he left the premises early on the day of the incident.

The violence began when a man walking from his car to engineering firm TWL was attacked on the road at 6am.

A company spokesman said: "It was unprovoked. The man left his vehicle in our car park and was walking across the road to start his shift when he was set upon. He has a broken nose, missing front teeth and other severe dental problems."

The man was kept in hospital overnight. Another man attacked nearby was not badly hurt. It is believed Whatuira was bleeding from minor cuts after his violent struggle with police.

Giants managing director Richard Thewlis said: "Paul and his family have the full medical support of the club."

Police said: "Officers arrested a 28-year-old after reports of two assaults."

It is believed Whatuira is now in a Bradford hospital.

He joined Super League Giants last year and was nicknamed Fatz the Black Cat because he is quiet and wily.

Whatuira missed games on June 26 and July 5 after complaining of severe headaches but returned to action when scans revealed no problems.


Whatuira made 16 appearances for New Zealand and is the Giants' the most capped player. He signed from Aussie club Wests Tigers in 2008. Last season he made 28 appearances and scored 15 tries. This season he played 28 times and scored seven tries.

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