16 Jul 2008

Death of teenager after rugby tackle

3:37 pm on 16 July 2008

The New Zealand Rugby Union is to investigate the death of a teenager following an injury incurred while playing rugby.

Robert Hickland, 17, broke his neck in two places while playing as fullback for the Feilding High School first XV rugby team last month.

He died on Tuesday in Christchurch Hospital.

The NZRU calls the incident 'rare' and says it will be investigated.

First XV coach Rick Francis says it was a freak accident, involving a straightforward tackle.

He believes the injuries were caused by the way Robert fell.

Robert was an under-17 representative player.