An English rugby player has appeared in court over the robbery and assault of a Perth taxi driver overnight.

Police allege Ryan Matthew George Townsend, 24, was a passenger in a taxi last night when during an argument he punched the 33-year-old driver.

Police say the cab driver stopped the taxi on Whitfords Avenue in Padbury but he was punched several more times before he managed to flag down help from a member of the public.

It is alleged Townsend, who currently plays rugby for Wanneroo, then drove off in the abandoned taxi.

He was arrested a short time later in the nearby suburb of Craigie.

Townsend was not required to plead to charges of aggravated robbery, stealing and causing bodily harm during a brief appearance in the Northbridge Magistrates Court today.

Prosecutor Sergeant Steve Balcome told the court Townsend was an English national in Australia to play professional rugby.

In granting Townsend bail, Magistrate Janelle Scotts warned the 24-year-old he was facing very serious charges with allegations of violence.

She imposed strict bail conditions including a personal undertaking with a surety of $5,000 and ordered he surrender his passport to authorities.

He must also report to police three times a week.

Townsend plays the position of inside centre for the London side Old Centralians but is in Perth for 12 months.

On his release from police custody he was picked up by fellow team mate.

Townsend is due to face court again next month.


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