Wasps inquiry focuses on Powell after Payne is cleared

Andy Powell and Tim Payne
Powell (left) and Payne were both suspended by the club

Wasps have lifted their suspension of Tim Payne after an incident in a London pub on Monday, but team-mate Andy Powell remains suspended.

England prop Payne and Wales number eight Powell were both suspended by the club after the incident, which left Powell with 10 stitches in his head.

Powell, 29, remains suspended as the club's investigation continues.

Payne, 31, has played 215 games for Wasps since arriving from Cardiff in 2003, and he has won 22 England caps.

He will now be considered for Saturday's game against Bath at Twickenham.

On Tuesday, Wasps were given CCTV footage of the incident at the Walkabout Pub in Shepherd's Bush, west London.

The board, led by chief executive Chris Thomas, has started to review it but the club are refusing to put a deadline on the internal investigation.

"We want to make sure we do a proper job and we don't know how long that will take - we have no set time frame," said a club spokesperson.

Powell, who signed for Wasps from Cardiff Blues on a deal which expires at the end of the season, was in ongoing talks with the Adams Park club about extending his stay.

Those discussions are on hold as investigations continue and the Welshman's long-term future at the club is now uncertain.

Powell told the Daily Telegraph he was knocked unconscious and required at least 10 stitches after "a bit of banter" with some football fans escalated into a fight.

"I was knocked to the ground by a gang who then started to kick and punch me," said Powell.

"I curled up into a ball and put my hands over my face and temples but couldn't cover the back of my head.

"I was then hit by a bar stool and lost consciousness after that but I suffered a pretty bad cut. There was blood everywhere."

BBC rugby union commentator Alastair Eykyn says Powell's interview has caused more consternation at the club.

"Quite apart from the embarrassment to the club, there is considerable irritation within the Wasps management that Powell decided to go public with his version of events rather than explain it to them," Eykyn reports.

"The club are confident, however, that the footage from the pub will clarify whether Powell was the innocent victim of an attack, as he claims, or the instigator of the unsavoury events."

The incident is the latest in Powell's chequered career after he pleaded guilty to driving a golf buggy while unfit through drink in March last year. He was banned from driving for 15 months and fined £1,000 as a result.