A 23-year-old man was airlifted to hospital after injuring his leg while playing rugby.

He was transported to Rotorua Hospital from the Reporoa sports ground at 5pm today by the BayTrust Rescue Helicopter.

He had been treated by St John ambulance staff earlier, but a helicopter was requested due to the nature of the injury, chief pilot Barry Vincent said.

Earlier today the crew transferred a 54-year-old Rotorua man with spinal injuries to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.