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SF judge orders release of Samoa rugby player in assault on Wales team

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Gordon Langkilde, a player for the Samoan rugby team, appeared in court in San Francisco Wednesday on charges of felony battery, felony assault and misdemeanor battery in connection with a fight with three players from the Welsh team at the Rugby World Cup Sevens event at AT&T Park on Saturday. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)

Days after a Samoa rugby player allegedly punched three players on the opposing Wales team following a match at AT&T Park, a San Francisco judge on Wednesday ordered his release from jail with conditions.

Samoa player Gordon Langkilde must remain in the U.S. while awaiting trial on two counts of felony battery, one count of felony assault and one count of misdemeanor battery for allegedly attacking the Wales players in a tunnel leading to the locker rooms at the ballpark on Saturday.

The alleged assault happened after Samoa lost a match to the Wales team during the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Police later arrested Langkilde at his hotel.

Langkilde walked into the courtroom at the Hall of Justice handcuffed and wearing an orange sweatsuit from County Jail. Peter Poulos, Samoa team manager, hunched forward in his seat in the audience as Langkilde pleaded not guilty to the charges through his attorney, Joshua Bentley.

“My client will not leave the country if released,” Bentley, a private attorney, told San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen Murphy before the judge decided to release Langkilde. “His passport is with the sheriff’s.”

Bentley also told the judge that Poulos would remain with Langkilde “all the time” once released.

Murphy ordered the Sheriff’s Department to hold onto Langkilde’s passport and to stay at least 150 yards away from Wales players Tom Williams, Ben Roach and Luke Morgan, who were allegedly assaulted.

Langkilde must also check in with the Pretrial Diversion Project twice a week as a condition of his release.

Bentley and Poulos declined to comment outside the courtroom.

Langkilde is scheduled to appear again in court Monday morning for a pre-hearing conference.

Langkilde was suspended from the competition after the incident. It was not immediately clear Wednesday afternoon when he would be released from jail.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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