Rugby: French second division rugby player dies during friendly

Louis Fajfrowski.
Louis Fajfrowski. Photo credit: Aurillac.

French rugby is in mourning after the death of a young player during a second division friendly match on Friday (Saturday NZ time).

Louis Fajfrowski died in the in the changing room of his club Aurillac, the Pro D2 team announced on social media.

According to French newspaper La Montagne , the 21-year-old centre was taken off after 60 minutes following a heavy tackle.

He was stunned by the hit but managed to get back to his feet with assistance, then left the pitch and walked unaided to the changing rooms, accompanied by a doctor.

There, he lost consciousness numerous times and when emergency services arrived around 8pm (local time), he passed away, according to the report.

It is understood he wanted he to return to the field, but he then began to vomit.

Aurillac paid their condolences to Fajfrowski's family in a statement on the club's website.

"The Stade Aurillacois is deeply saddened to announce the death of Louis  Fajfrowski, a young hopeful of the club. 

"Louis died as a result of a discomfort in the locker room during the friendly match between the club's hopeful team and the Federale 1 Rodez team. 

"The Aurillacois Stadium is in mourning and all its members send their very sincere condolences to the family of Louis and his family." 

Club legend Olivier Magne told radio station RMC that the side were devastated by the events.

"It's a whole club, a city, a department and all the French rugby that are affected, who are bereaved, it's a family member who went away, it's very sad for French rugby," he said.

"It is necessary to wait for the autopsy, do not draw an early conclusion.

"But there is an evolution [in] professional sports in general. We are going towards more speed, intensity, violence, there are more and more difficult contacts and they could be avoided.

"We will have to quickly provide answers."

An official investigation has begun into the cause of death with an autopsy scheduled for Monday.