Rugby player Api Ratuniyarawa has been jailed for nearly three years after admitting sexually assaulting three teenagers in a bar days before he was due to play for the Barbarians.
The 37-year-old Fiji international had been in Cardiff ahead of the game against Wales last autumn when he attacked the three young women inside the VIP area of the city centre Revolution bar.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Ratuniyarawa went to the bar on three consecutive nights with his team-mates and on each occasion while drunk assaulted a victim.
Heath Edwards, prosecuting, told the court: “On November 4 the Barbarians played Wales at the Principality Stadium.
“The defendant had been selected to play for the Barbarians and together with the rest of his team-mates had attended Cardiff in the week before the game to attend media commitments and training for the fixture.
“The defendant appears to have spent many of his nights socialising in Cardiff in advance of the game.
“The defendant has repeatedly attended the Revolution bar on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights of the week in run-up to the fixture.
“On each of those occasions, of those visits, he sexually assaulted a different lady in the VIP area of the bar.”
At a previous hearing Ratuniyarawa pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by penetration and one charge of sexual assault.
Ratuniyarawa, of The Orchard, Kislingbury, Northamptonshire, denied two further charges of sexual assault relating to one of the three women and those charges were ordered to lie on file.
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, The Recorder of Cardiff, jailed Ratuniyarawa for two years and 10 months.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and given a three-year restraining order against one of his victims.
Passing sentence, the judge said: “I bear in mind the proposed starting points and ranges take into account the inevitable trauma of such offences.
“All the offences are aggravated because you were under the influence of alcohol and I bear in mind physical injury was caused as well as the psychological injury that was caused on all three occasions.
“For all three offences I note you stopped only because others intervened.
“On the other hand you are a man with no previous convictions and you are of positive good character and I accept that the remorse and shame you feel is genuine and I bear in mind the steps you have taken to address the cause of this behaviour.”
The father-of-four, who has also played for Northampton Saints and in France, has been without a club since Premiership club London Irish went into receivership in the summer, the court has previously heard.
He was hoping his appearance for the Barbarians invitational side would lead to winning a new playing contract but has since been forced to apply for benefits.
In victim impact statements, the three victims described the traumatic effects the assaults have had on their lives.
One said: “My attack came out of the blue and it was sudden, shocking and very, very painful and I felt degraded, embarrassed and humiliated. I still do.
“It was such a personal and painful violation.
“I feel anxious and upset when thinking about what happened and I can’t sleep at night without seeing my attacker’s face.”
Another said: “You took away my independence, my self-worth, and my confidence.
“There are moments that I can’t help think that if I didn’t go out that night, if I didn’t dress up like I did and if I didn’t drink any alcohol, if I didn’t go into this area it wouldn’t have happened.
“I wouldn’t have to be reminded of it every single day.
“The main reason for coming forward was to stop this from happening to other people.”
Ruth Smith, defending, said Ratuniyarawa had asked her to apologise to each of the three victims.
“It is with his deepest remorseful heart that he wants to convey how sorry he is with his actions the pain and damage he has caused to the victims and the shame he has brought to himself and his family,” she said.
“It is clear from watching the CCTV that the consumption of alcohol by the defendant was a highly significant factor in how the defendant came to act on the dates of these offences.
“The consumption of alcohol in these quantities was completely out of character.”