* Winger misses court appearance in Melbourne
* ARU says player will be issued with revised date (Adds Ioane ruled out of tour)
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, June 24 (Reuters) - A warrant was issued for the arrest of Australia rugby international Digby Ioane on Monday, hours before the winger was ruled out of the rest of the British and Irish Lions series with a shoulder injury.
The warrant, issued after Ioane failed to appear in a Melbourne court on Monday to face an assault charge, provided an unwelcome distraction for the Wallabies who head into Saturday’s all-important second test trailing 1-0 in the three-match series and rocked by a rash of injuries.
Ioane had been charged with assault in connection with a scuffle at a Melbourne bar in March. He was stood down for a week by his provincial side, Queensland Reds, in the wake of the incident.
Melbourne police did not charge Ioane at the time but he was later delivered a summons to appear in court while he was on tour with his team in South Africa, local media reported.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said they only found out about Ioane’s legal trouble on Monday afternoon.
“Since being made aware through media reports, ARU has worked expeditiously with Digby Ioane and Victorian Police to attend to this matter,” the ARU said in a statement.
“Digby will report to Victorian Police and will be issued with a revised court date.”
Ioane suffered a shoulder injury during the Wallabies’ bruising 23-21 loss to the Lions in Brisbane last Saturday and late on Monday was ruled out of the rest of the series.
He faces possible surgery after suffering “internal damage” to his right shoulder, the team said.
Ioane was one of a trio of Wallabies backs sidelined for the second test after taking heavy knocks at Lang Park.
Hard-running centre Pat McCabe is out for the series after suffering a neck injury and fullback Berrick Barnes will miss at least the second test after a crashing into a team mate.
A further two backs injured at Brisbane, inside centre Christian Lealiifano and outside centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, face a further assessment this week.
A number of Wallabies backs have had brushes with the law in recent years, with utility Kurtley Beale charged with assault after a scuffle with security staff outside a Brisbane bar last year while out with Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper.
The charge against Beale was withdrawn this year when the parties settled the matter out of court.
Cooper was arrested and charged with burglary over the alleged theft of laptops from a private residence in Australia’s Gold Coast in 2009. The charges were dropped the following year following a mediation process with the plaintiffs.
The second test of the series is at Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium on Saturday.
Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Ed Osmond