A Hawke's Bay rugby player is back home after being flown from a Napier playing field to hospital in Auckland with suspected serious spinal injuries on Saturday.

Thomas Baker was playing a reserve grade match for first-round Town and Country combined reserve grade and second division competition winners Napier Old Boys Marist against Hastings side MAC at Tremain Field, Park Island.

The match was stopped early in the first half and transferred across the road to Bond Field while a colts match on an adjacent field was delayed, to enable ambulance services to attend the player and for the ambulance to land.

The Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter service reported that because of the suspected spinal injuries it flew the player directly to Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.


Hawke's Bay Rugby Union club development officer Gary Macdonald said the player was walking although with some pain the next day and that assessment had established no serious injury.

An injury report raised no issues about the tackle in which the player fell, and the injury appeared to have been an accident.