Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby prop Tolu Fahamokioa was transferred to Hutt Hospital by the Lowe Walker rescue helicopter on Saturday to prepare for eye surgery.
While his teammates were receiving their winners' medals after Friday night's 26-25 ITM Cup Championship final victory at Napier's McLean Park, Fahamokioa was in an ambulance on his way to Hawke's Bay Hospital in Hastings. Magpies head coach Craig Philpott said Fahamokioa collected a fractured eye socket.
"We understand there is swelling in the back of the eye, which is restricting his ability to look left and right, and this is why the surgery is required,"
A former trainee nurse, Fahamokioa, 24, is in his first season with the Magpies after playing for Wellington last year. He is contracted to play for the Magpies again next year, and earlier this year played one game for the Hurricanes in a Super Rugby competition game against the Blues in Auckland out of the Canes wider training group.
Magpies lock Michael Allardice and winger Ryan Tongia left the field during the final with ankle and knee injuries respectively. Both are expected to recover before they link up with their respective Chiefs and Highlanders Super teams.