Young player dies after head injury

Date published: April 20 2015

Australian rugby is mourning the death of a young club player, Nick Tooth, after he sustained a head injury making a tackle.

Tooth, 25, tragically passed away on Sunday after being airlifted to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle following the incident in Saturday's game, playing for the Quirindi Lions against the Narrabri Blue Boars.

"The passing of one of our young country rugby players over the weekend is incredibly sad and is a loss that is felt by the entire Australian rugby community," said ARU president Bill Pulver on Monday.

"We send our thoughts and sincere condolences to Nick's family, friends, team-mates and members of the Quirindi Rugby and broader community.

"I'd like to thank those who helped at the scene on Saturday and we'll ensure we provide whatever support we can for Nick's family and club at this challenging time."

The club posted a message on their Facebook page, describing Tooth as "a fine young man."

“The loss of this kind hearted and fine young man will be felt far and wide,” the club said.

“The club would like to offer their support to everyone who has been touched by this tragic loss. The players and club members thank everyone for their thoughts and support at this sad time."

Quirindi Lions club president, Charles Murray, told ABC in Australia that there was nothing suspicious about what happened.

It really was just a tragic accident, Nick went in to tackle an opponent and his head clashed with [the opponent's] shoulder and he went down," Murray said.

"There was no foul play, nothing untoward about it at all; sadly it was just a very tragic accident."

"I'd seen him grow up from a child through junior rugby and grow into a young man, he was a lovely kid, he had a bit of a larrikin spirit in him."

"He was a really good bloke and very popular, and his family for generations have been great rugby supporters in this district and great community people."