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

Super Rugby faces foreign recruiting blitz from France and England Wales prop Adam Jones retires from test rugby Will Heinz's season-ending injury opens door for Billy Guyton at the Crusaders Crusaders send out SOS to Andy Ellis after Willi Heinz breaks leg Mils Muliaina to captain Connacht in Euro Cup Challenge Highlanders prove too sharp for Crusaders in pre-season hitout in Timaru Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz breaks leg in pre-season loss to Highlanders Stephen Larkham to join Michael Cheika's Wallabies coaching staff Western Force beat ACT Brumbies in David Pocock's return Quade Cooper out three months with collarbone injury

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