Hurricanes will hold a minute's silence to remember Wellington rugby player Daniel Baldwin video

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Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd talks about the death of 19-year-old club rugby player Daniel Baldwin.

The Hurricanes will hold a minute's silence on Saturday night, and all senior club rugby teams will wear black armbands, to mark the death of 19-year-old Daniel Baldwin.

Daniel, who played for the Wellington Football Club's colts, died on Wednesday night in Wellington Hospital, where he was in an induced coma after collapsing at a game on Saturday.

"The Hurricanes will be pausing to remember Daniel before the teams come out [against the Cheetahs on Saturday night], including a minute's silence," Hurricanes spokesman Toby Robson said on Thursday evening.

Daniel Baldwin, a colts player for the Wellington Football Club, died in Wellington Hospital, days after a club rugby ...
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Daniel Baldwin, a colts player for the Wellington Football Club, died in Wellington Hospital, days after a club rugby match in Porirua at Ngati Toa Domain.

Baldwin's team, along with his club's under-85kg side, for which his twin brother Stefan plays, will have their games on Saturday transferred to their home ground of Hataitai Park, where the day will be dedicated to his memory.

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On Thursday, Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said Baldwin was part of Wellington rugby's extended family, and they would look to support his family as best they could.

Daniel Baldwin at work at Ortega Fish Shack, where he called himself "executive kitchen porter".
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Daniel Baldwin at work at Ortega Fish Shack, where he called himself "executive kitchen porter".

"As a father myself, who's got four kids of the same sort of age, my heart would go out to the family and friends of that young man. It's a tragedy," he said.

"I don't know anything about the circumstances, so I can't really comment on it. I just feel incredibly sad for his family."

Ortega Fish Shack, the Wellington restaurant where Baldwin worked, said he was more than just an employee. "He was pretty much family".

The Wellington Football Club president and former rugby journalist Keith Quinn was at the domain during the match, but ...
FAIRFAX NZ

The Wellington Football Club president and former rugby journalist Keith Quinn was at the domain during the match, but did not see the incident.

He was also "Big Dan our executive kitchen porter … one of the hardest-working, driven and well-rounded guys we have had through the doors at Ortega".

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It remains unclear what exactly happened on Saturday, and Baldwin's family do not want to speculate. For them - for now at least - it is just a "tragic accident during a colts grade club rugby game".

The morning after the death they issued a statement, along with a smiling photo of Daniel holding the family dog, Patti.

The Victoria University student, who was studying psychology, statistics and criminology, loved dogs and planned to be a police dog handler.

His father Len, mother Eva, brothers Stefan and Markus, and girlfriend Lucy, along with other family and friends were with him till he died in Wellington Hospital on Wednesday night.

The memories that will remain are of a  "young man with an enormous zest for life, who had his future mapped out", and a "larger than life young man, with a strong moral compass, who embraced life in everything he did".

"To all of us he was always 'Dan, the man with the plan', he even called himself that," his father said.

"He wasn't the star on the rugby field, but he was the good, hard-working, committed, loyal team player. He loved the game."

His sports extended beyond rugby, to skiing and a black belt in karate. He was a young man "always challenging himself to be the best he could", his father said.

At Ortega he was not just the kitchen hand – the taped-on name tag over his black work overalls reads, "Big Dan, Executive KP [kitchen porter]".

"He would have been devastated to have let people down by not being able to do his shift Saturday night, he was so conscientious," his father said.

Davey McDonald, of Ortega, said: "We're very much a big family here at Ortega, and he was a huge part of that.

"Dan was a real hard worker that studied full-time at university in the day, took part in many sports and activities with his friends and family, all while still coming in at night and working with all of us.

"Daniel was a vibrant young man that was full of life and much loved by everyone here. He will be sorely missed."

To New Zealand Rugby general rugby  manager Neil Sorensen it was brutally simple: "Nineteen-year-old kids aren't supposed to die playing sport."

Jason Judd, chairman of Wellington Football Club, who are known as the Axemen, said the club was shocked and saddened at Baldwin's death.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Daniel.

"It is a terribly difficult time for everyone involved and it's at times like this that you realise that the rugby, and particularly the Axemen community, truly comes together in adversity."

He thanked the Avalon club, and Hutt Old Boys Marist, for willingly agreeing to forgo their home games on Saturday.

 - Stuff

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