France’s rugby community are in mourning after the death of a young player during a second division pre-season fixture on Friday evening.
21-year-old Louis Fajfrowski, who played centre for Pro D2 outfit Aurillac passed away in his team’s changing room, the club revealed via their Twitter account.
Fajfrowski was replaced in the 60th minute after a tackle during Aurillac’s clash with Rodez.
He was stunned by the hit but got to his feet with assistance and left the field unaided but accompanied by a doctor.
Fajfrowski then lost consciousness several times but according to La Montagne newspaper, he passed away roundabout 20:00 local time despite the arrival of the emergency services.
An official investigation has been launched into the cause of death with an autopsy scheduled for Monday.
“We will find out why he died and if the tackle provoked his death,” the local prosecutor’s office said.
The prosecutor added that when Fajfrowski “left the pitch his condition did not appear to be alarming. He even wanted to return (to play) afterwards, but he then began to vomit.”
Tributes were made to the player, with French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte saying he was “devastated”.
Top14 clubs including Toulon, Stade Français and Racing 92 also sent their condolences.
Fajfrowski moved to Aurillac in 2015 after three seasons with Montpellier’s youth team.