'I felt like I was dying': Club rugby player knocked unconscious from punch

By Solbin Kang

Photo of Andy Koli Filivao (right) who was knocked unconscious during a rugby game. Photo / Supplied
Photo of Andy Koli Filivao (right) who was knocked unconscious during a rugby game. Photo / Supplied

A club rugby player who was punched in the jaw, knocking him unconscious, says he felt like he was dying.

A rugby match between Morrinsville and Melville premiers at Campbell Park in Morrinsville yesterday turned into a scuffle when a Melville player punched Morrinsville player Andy Koli Filivao in the jaw, causing him to lose consciousness.

Koli Filivao told the Herald he was trying to stop a scuffle between one of his teammates and a Melville player when he was punched in the jaw.

"They [Melville] got a try and I saw my halfback pushing and shoving a Melville fella.

"I went straight to the fella [Melville player] and I pushed him over."

Then "out of nowhere" another Melville player came up to him and punched him in the head, he said.

"I don't remember anything after that.

"I felt like I was dying. I could hear noises far away from me, people talking," he said.

The 26-year-old woke up in hospital, shocked and disoriented.

"I didn't know where I was. My sister told me what happened."

The man who hit him was a close friend of his, and he had no hard feelings.

"I'm not angry with him. His dad is a close mate of mine.

"I don't want him banned from rugby or anything like that."

Mr Filivao was discharged from hospital yesterday evening and was told by his doctor he wouldn't be able to play rugby for another four weeks as he recovers.

"I feel a little bit sore, but I'm quite happy. I was worried yesterday at the scan result.

"I was worried something happened to my head or my neck and spine, but the result came out and everything is all good."

Waikato Rugby Union operations manager Bill Heslop said the Melville player was yellow-carded during the match and a judicial process would be under way tomorrow.

"The WRU has received a citing request from the Morrinsville Rugby and Sports Club which will be followed up on Monday morning along with any other judicial requirements."

Morrinsville lost to Melville 5-50.

- NZ Herald

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