Groundsman John Rush said from hospital last night that he would have bled to death after a tractor accident had he not been spotted by three 11-year-old Hutt Intermediate School pupils.

The father of Auckland Blues player Xavier Rush and Black Ferns player Annaleah Rush was mowing at Rimutaka Forest Park, north of Wellington, last week when a branch impaled his leg.

Margaret Kahukuranui was driving her son Jordan and friends Patrick O'Reilly and James Freeburn to the park for a school tramp when the boys saw Mr Rush waving for help. They gave the alarm and he was flown to Wellington Hospital, having lost half his blood.