Strawbridge home from Samoa still critical

Chiefs assistant coach and Samoa technical adviser Andrew Strawbridge has arrived home from Samoa and remains in a critical condition.

Strawbridge was admitted to Motootua National Hospital in Samoa on Tuesday with an infection in his right eye, and his condition deteriorated rapidly.

He had fallen ill on his flight to Samoa to join the team ahead of their Test against the All Blacks on Wednesday.

He remained sedated, but was stable enough to return to New Zealand via air ambulance, a joint statement from the Samoa Rugby Union and the Chiefs said on Friday.

He arrived in Hamilton shortly after 6pm and was transferred to Waikato Hospital.

Strawbridge was in a critical condition in intensive care on Friday night.

Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flexman and chairman Dallas Fisher met the plane at Hamilton Airport.

“It has been a difficult time for Straws, his family and all of those who are close to him,” Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said.

“It is fantastic to have him back and we appreciate all the work that has gone on to get him home by the medical staff, Manu Samoan aiga, New Zealand Rugby and the Chiefs.

“There are lots of people who love and care about Straws and that has been highlighted by the huge number of messages of support we have received.”

Strawbridge’s wife Laura and sister Susan have been at his bedside.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we are continuing to receive in both Samoa and New Zealand. The kindness shown to us, and the offers of support, has been incredible,” Laura Strawbridge said.

“We want to thank everyone for their much needed thoughts and kind wishes at this extremely difficult time.”

She had earlier thanked an All Blacks supporter, in Samoa for the Test match, who had donated blood for her husband.

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