Schools pray for hurt rugby player

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 07:38 20/05/2014

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Students and staff from two secondary schools are praying for the recovery of rugby player Nathanael "Nat" Manville.

The 18-year-old suffered a severe neck injury during a ruck while playing for Awatapu College's first XV against Tararua College's first XV in Pahiatua on Saturday.

He has since undergone surgery at Christchurch Hospital. The Canterbury District Health Board is yet to provide an update on his condition. He underwent surgery on his fifth cervical vertebrae - the fifth cervical vertebrae of seven, known as C5 - a "significant marker" when determining the nature of neck injuries.

Manville's father Darrell was in Christchurch with him and the school was awaiting news, Awatapu College principal Gary Yeatman said.

"It is still a bit unknown and a wait-and-see game at the moment . . . We're all wishing Nat the best and wishing him a speedy recovery."

Students were told by staff about Manville's injury, with senior staff meeting yesterday with the school's first XV and school's Trades Academy, where Manville was studying towards a national certificate in automotive.

Yeatman said he was in touch with the Manville family, and the teen was holding on.

"I haven't heard any news yet, but my understanding is those sort of injuries can take some time, even up to a couple of weeks - until we know the long-term situation we're just supporting the students, the players and the parents."

Manville, a lock or loose forward, had played rugby since primary school, was in his fifth year playing for Awatapu College, and his third season for the 1st XV.

Tararua College principal Glynis De Castro said support was being provided for the school's first XV players who wanted it - she had contacted Yeatman expressing condolences.

"They're quite thoughtful and pensive about the situation," she said.

"They understand what's happened and we have to wait and see what the outcome is, but they're very keen to support the family and to support Nat."

Manville's family have thanked those who have helped and supported them.

"Nat's accident was one of those instances in life where he was just unlucky, there was no foul play involved," his father has said.

A report will soon be presented to the Manawatu Rugby Union from the referee and coaches at the game about what happened.

The New Zealand Rugby Union and Rugby Foundation, which supports seriously injured players, have been informed and offered support to the schools.

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- Manawatu Standard

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