Ex-Australia international Timani fined €10,000 by French court following bottle throwing incident

Former Wallaby back row Lopeti Timani has been fined €10,000 by a court in France following an assault case where 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, was being prosecuted 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 June, 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 was expected on September 14 and it emerged as planned, Timani fined a five-figure sum to draw a line under an incident where there was talk of a suspended six-month prison sentence potentially being the outcome. 

The back row has appeared off the bench in recent weeks in both of La Rochelle’s 2020/21 Top 14 games, the home win over Toulon followed by Saturday’s defeat at Toulouse.  

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.