World Masters rugby player has surgery

Times photo Wayne Martin

Steve Ioane, the Ponsonby player who collapsed in a game against a Pakuranga United Rugby Club (PURC) side in the World Masters Games clash last week, has been under the knife and is improving.

Ioane, a relative of All Blacks and Blues star Rieko Ioane and his brother and Blues team-mate Akira, suffered a medical event during the Pakuranga Presidents v Ponsonby EPs game last Thursday.

A Ponsonby Rugby Club representative yesterday told the Times Ioane suffered a heart attack and had surgery on Tuesday and is “on the mend”.

PURC general manager Stephen Hackett – who also played – said Ioane was substituted a few minutes before half-time and collapsed as he left the field. An ambulance was 100 metres away, he said.

The score was nil-all at that stage and Michael Biddick, the PURC president and coach/captain on the day, decided the side wouldn’t play on and awarded the game to Ponsonby which went on to play for the gold medal which it won. Pakuranga won its finals game on Sunday to take bronze.

“Michael made the call and everyone supported it. The Pakuranga boys showed good spirit.”
The club had a “whip-round” and made a donation to the Ioane’s family too. Biddick said the move was made purely in the spirit of rugby and the World Masters Games.

“Everyone agreed it was the right thing to do (even though) it cost us the gold,” he said.
“They were very appreciative of the stance that we took and certainly made it known.

“We’re happy where we ended up. There’s more to life than winning a game.’