8 Dec 2008

Former All Black undegoes life saving surgery in Japan

6:41 pm on 8 December 2008

The former All Blacks first five Tony Brown has undergone life-saving surgery in Japan after suffering a freak injury during a club match, that could end his rugby career.

Brown ruptured his pancreas while playing a club match for the Sanyo Wild Knights in October and spent five weeks in a Tokyo hospital, after developing acute pancreatitis.

He's lost 13 kilogrammes and is now on a restricted diet and still has to have his blood tested every couple of days.

Brown has told the Japanese newspaper the Daily Yomiuri that he wants to return to the game but at this stage doesn't know whether that'll be possible.

Brown, who's 33, played 18 tests for the All Blacks between 1999 and 2001, mostly as a backup to Andrew Mehrtens, and was a member of the All Blacks squad at the 1999 World Cup.

He's spent the last four years playing in Japan and two seasons with South African teams in the Super 14 following his career with the Highlanders.