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

Young gun Mo'unga firing for Crusaders in Super Rugby Blackadder cranks up defence during Crusaders' winning run Chiefs welcome back four players for big Super Rugby derby with Highlanders New Zealand's womens sevens call out rivals for the running man challenge, and Australia reply Hurricanes have a chance to mark themselves as a special side Brumbies have fixed lineout, says flanker David Pocock Promising teen centre Campbell Magnay replaces injured Samu Kerevi for Reds NZ Rugby understands Warriors prescription pill saga stretches beyond league Chiefs halfback Brad Weber feels he can bring point of difference to All Blacks New Zealand sevens star Kurt Baker announces switch to Italian Pro 12 side Zebre

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