Takapuna rugby player dies following collapse

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 09:08 24/07/2013
Willie Halaifonua
Facebook/John Rau
RUGBY TRAGEDY: A club rugby player has died in hospital after he collapsed following a game in Auckland.

Relevant offers

Rugby

How Australian rugby can recover after Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup debacle Jackson Garden-Bachop relishing chance to start at first-five for Wellington Southland Boys' High School players up for special occasion against Christchurch Boys' High School Spider or lion? Big cat gets the better of eight-legged friend on Wellington Lions jersey NZ sevens coach Gordon Tietjens waiting for post-Olympics review before deciding future Paul Cully: Owen Franks sums up the All Blacks' restless ambition Tindallgate saga hampers Queenstown police in CCTV access Pat Lam backs Joe Schmidt as speculation mounts of more New Zealand flavour to Irish rugby coaching job Manawatu rugby referee back on the field after being punched Former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph recognised at farewell function

A top rugby player has died in hospital after he collapsed following a game on Saturday.

Takapuna Rugby Club player Willie Halaifonua, 27, fell unconscious on his way back to the changing rooms after a premier match against Massey at the Onewa club grounds.

He was rushed to Auckland Hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery before being placed in an induced coma.

The Tongan father of two young children died late last night surrounded by his wife and other family members.

Mr Halaifonua played lock for his club side and was announced player of the day just moments before he collapsed.

Team management reported that he had suffered a number of knocks during the game, but did not appear to have suffered a concussion.

Takapuna Rugby Club players and officials held vigil at Auckland Hospital in the days following his collapse.

Family, friends and team mates have shared their grief on social media with many remembering Mr Halaifonua as a gifted, yet humble sportsman and a loving father.

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content