Rugby: Samoan Faiva Tagatauli dies from suspected head injury

Samoan Rugby is mourning the death of former under-20 international flanker Faiva Tagatauli, who died on Thursday after suffering a suspected head injury during a club rugby match on Saturday.

The Samoan Rugby Union (SRU) made the announcement on its Facebook page after the 27-year-old fell unconscious and had a heart attack.

Tagatauli was playing for Vaimoso Rugby Club in Tuana'imato when he left the field 10 minutes from the end of the game and lost consciousness on the sideline, before dying in the National Hospital four days later.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Faiva's wife Seutatia, and their son as well as their family at Fagamalo at this time," said SRU chief executive Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai.

"We also express our condolences to the Vaimoso Rugby Club who have lost a popular teammate. We will do all possible within our means to offer the support in this difficult time.

"The union prioritises and recognises the importance of player welfare.

"We work closely with the Rugby Players Association and World Rugby to ensure training and awareness programs are rolled out through match officials, coaches and administrators."

Tagatauli played for Samoa's under-20 side in 2011, with the team going on to win the Junior World Trophy in Georgia.

His tragic death comes at a time where the sport is under scrutiny following the deaths of three players in France last year as a result of injuries sustained during matches.

In May, 17-year-old Adrien Descrulhes was found dead in his bedroom the morning after he suffered a concussion while playing for Billom. An autopsy confirmed he'd been killed by a brain haemorrhage.

In August, Aurillac's Louis Fajfrowski died in the changing room during a friendly game after suffering a heart attack.

The 21-year-old was taken off the field following a heavy tackle and left the felid unaided to the changing rooms, accompanied by a doctor where he lost consciousness numerous times and passed away.

Last month, Stade Francais' 18-year-old flanker Nicolas Chauvin broke his neck and died after being caught in a two-man tackle.

That led to the French Rugby Federation (FFR) proposing to World Rugby that tackling above the waist should be banned.

World Rugby trialled lowering the tackle height from the shoulder to the 'nipple line' at the World Rugby U20 Championship in France, and also the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Romania.