Wellington - A New Zealand rugby coach who fell critically ill after
succumbing to an infection in Samoa will be airlifted home, his Super Rugby
club said Friday.
Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge became ill while travelling to the
Pacific island nation for Wednesday's historic Test between the All Blacks and
Samoa in Apia.
The Chiefs said it became evident on the flight to Samoa that the
50-year-old had an eye infection. From there he "deteriorated
rapidly" and was rushed to hospital on Tuesday night.
The club said Strawbridge, who was in Samoa to act as a technical adviser to
the island team, was still listed as critical on Friday morning but his
condition had improved.
"Efforts are currently being made to get him home," the Chiefs
said in a statement.
"Medical staff are continuing to focus on further stabilising his
condition so that he can be transferred by air ambulance to New Zealand."
New Zealand media reported that the air ambulance would arrive in Samoa later
Friday and take Strawbridge to Auckland on Saturday.
Exact details of the condition resulting from Strawbridge's eye infection
have not been released.