Rugby player stable in induced coma

Former Melbourne Rebels player Hoani MacDonald remains in an induced coma in hospital, but is stable, after collapsing onfield during an NPC Championship division semi-final.

MacDonald, a former Junior All Black and New Zealand Maori representative, remains in Middlemore Hospital on Sunday afternoon.

His fiance and two sons have arrived from Invercargill and are at his bedside, New Zealand Rugby Union spokesman Neil Sorensen said.

MacDonald was playing for Southland against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Saturday when he collapsed on the field.

“We are still very worried for Hoani and we are continuing to work with Rugby Southland to support Hoani and his family and to support the team who have now returned home,” Mr Sorenson said.

MacDonald, an experienced lock, made his debut for Southland in 2000.

The 34-year-old played 23 Super Rugby matches for the Highlanders between 2004 and 2008, before leaving to play for Welsh regional side Newport.

The forward’s 2011 season was blighted by a serious hand injury in Melbourne’s opening game and he returned home to New Zealand early in 2012 where he played for the Highlanders and Southland.

Counties Manukau stormed across for four late tries to overwhelm Southland 48-23 and book a place in the NPC Championship division rugby final.

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