25 Jan 2019

Sport: Samoa mourns death of former Baby Manu player

12:08 pm on 25 January 2019

Samoa is mourning the loss of former under-20 rugby representative Faiva Tagatauli.

Faiva Tagatauli

Faiva Tagatauli Photo: Facebook / Saofaiga Alofipo Mauigoa

The 27-year-old flanker died yesterday in hospital of a suspected head injury.

He collapsed on the sideline after calling for a substitute late in the second half of Vaimoso's match in Apia's club competition on Saturday.

The Vaimoso Rugby Club's team manager, Tauiliili Polito Vili, said there was no visible incident that caused Tagatauli's injury.

"He walked of the field, came around to me and said that he was not feeling well," Tauiliili said.

The player was given water and ice before losing consciousness.

An ambulance arrived within seven minutes and paramedics were able to revive Tagatauli before he was taken to hospital at Motootua where a visiting neurologist performed surgery.

"The x-rays showed that there was internal bleeding on the right side of the brain, and the doctors said that it was lucky we were able to get him to the hospital on time," Tauiliili said.

"This is a very sad loss for the Vaimoso Rugby Club. We have been by the side of the family, especially his wife since the incident on Saturday, offering our support and giving some money to help with expenses," he said.

"Faiva had not played all of last year and this was his first game of the season. He loved the game of rugby."

Vaimoso players will wear black armbands and dedicate this weekend's shield match against Vaiala to Tagatauli, the manager said.

Secretary of the Apia Rugby Union, Tafaoimalo Laifa Vaoiva Petersen, said further assistance would be offered to Tagatauli's family.

"Apia Rugby Union conveys its deepest condolences to the family of Faiva, especially his wife and son," Tafaoimalo said.

"This loss will be felt throughout the 11 clubs of Apia Rugby Union and across the rugby family," he said.

"All matches this Saturday will observe a moment of silence and I know that Vaimoso will be bringing everything they have to the shield match in dedication to Faiva."

The Samoa Rugby Union said its thoughts and prayers were with Tagatauli's family at Fagamalo.

Chief executive Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai also expressed condolences to Vaimoso.

"We will do all possible within our means to offer support in this difficult time," Faleomavaega said.

"The Union prioritises and recognises the importance of player welfare. We work closely with the Rugby Players Associations and World Rugby to ensure training and awareness programmes are rolled out through match officials, coaches and administrators."

Faiva Tagatauli played for Samoa's Under 20 in 2011 under coach John Schuster. The team went on to win the Junior World Trophy in Georgia.