Italy second-rower Cameron Ciraldo is likely to need surgery after suffering a lacerated pancreas in a thunderous tackle by Tonga and Warriors centre Konrad Hurell yesterday.
Ciraldo, who was playing his last game before taking up a coaching and development position with Penrith next year, had to be helped from the pitch in Halifax after being tackled by Hurrell in the 56th minute of their 16-0 defeat to Tonga that cost Italy a place in the quarter-finals.
He returned to Leeds with the rest of the team after the match but was rushed to hospital by ambulance after complaining of back and stomach problems.
The 29-year-old will remain in Leeds - the rest of the squad leave this morning (NZT) - and is likely to need surgery. Italy team manager Reno Santaguida will remain in Leeds with Ciraldo and Kiwis assistant coach Ivan Cleary, who doubles as Penrith coach, was due to see him today.
Ciraldo's parents were at The Shay to watch their son play his final game.
The Azzurri would have progressed to a quarter-final date with the Kiwis if they had beaten Tonga yesterday.