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Tongan flanker dies in the middle of rugby match

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A Tongan rugby player, recently married and the father of two young children, died from a heart attack during a French third division match on Sunday.


The 28-year-old Perigueux flanker Feao Latu collapsed just 15 minutes into the top-of-the-table match at Cahors and was pronounced dead in hospital, emergency services said.


“It’s dreadful. We are completely shocked. All the players and all of the rugby family here have lived through a drama today. It’s hard to accept,” Perigueux club president Michel Macary told AFP.


Latu complained of feeling unwell in the 17th minute when Cahors had scored a try.


While the players waited for the conversion, Latu fell to his knees and signalled to the bench and the club doctor for attention.


Around a thousand spectators witnessed the drama at the Lucien Desprats stadium in Cahors with the match eventually called off.


“Feao Latu was well-liked, entertaining and dedicated. He was appreciated for his professionalism and his self-discipline,” added Macary.


Teammate Dorian Kenil, a lock forward, was stunned by his friend’s death.


“It’s incomprehensible, we can’t believe it, everyone is saying it’s not possible,” he said.


Latu’s death came 18 years after another Perigueux player Francis Rongieras died in similar tragic circumstances.


Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com

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