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Rugby Canada severs ties with player after violent B.C. carjacking

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Rugby Canada has kicked a 19-year-old player out of its professional development program after a violent carjacking near Victoria last month left a taxi driver with serious injuries.

Sione Fine of Williams Lake, B.C. is facing a raft of charges, including assault causing bodily harm, theft of a motor vehicle, mischief under $5,000 and assaulting a police officer.

Mounties responded to a report of a carjacking in the 2300-block of Sooke Road in Colwood, west of Victoria, shortly after midnight on April 15.

Michael Westeroth, the general manager of Bluebird Cabs in Victoria, says one of the company's drivers suffered multiple injuries, including a dislocated shoulder and a broken arm that required surgery, in the attack.

Police released a pair of videos of the carjacking on Thursday in a plea to find witnesses to the incident.

According to the taxi company, the driver stopped his car after a shirtless man ran into the street and leapt onto the car, cracking the windshield.

The man rolled off the hood and onto the ground, prompting the driver to stop and see if he was injured.

When the driver opened the door to check on the man, he was struck on the head and thrown onto the ground, knocking him unconscious, according to the taxi company.

The driver regained consciousness in an ambulance and was rushed to hospital, Westeroth said.

"Police believe there were other witnesses to this violent act that have not come forward and provided their information," the West Shore RCMP said in a news release.

Investigators are specifically looking for the driver and any occupants of a white car that drove past the taxi while the assault and carjacking occurred. Police say the car did not stop at the scene.

West Shore RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Nancy Saggar told CTV News investigators believe the suspect was "under the influence of drugs" during the altercation.

The taxi driver remains off work, recovering from his injuries.

RUGBY PLAYERS SUSPENDED

In a statement to CTV News on Thursday, Rugby Canada said it has removed Fine from its Pacific Pride development team and suspended two other players.

"We were made aware on April 18 of an earlier incident involving several Pacific Pride players gathered at a private residence," Rugby Canada spokesperson Tania Richards said.

"In the face of incomplete information, we initially placed four players under suspension while we investigated further."

Sione Fine of Williams Lake, B.C. is facing charges of assault causing bodily harm, theft of a motor vehicle, mischief under $5,000 and assaulting a police officer. (Submitted)

Richards said the organization was unaware of any criminal charges stemming from the incident until Thursday, when it released Fine from Pacific Pride and all other Rugby Canada activities.

"We now consider this a matter for the justice system," the Rugby Canada spokesperson said, pledging to co-operate fully with the police investigation.

"Two players remain suspended as they proceed through due process as per our discipline and complaints policy."

Fine is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Colwood on May 25.

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