A fatal rugby injury has devastated a New Zealand family, sent shockwaves through a tight-knit Northland community and re-emphasised risks associated with the national game.

Otamatea Hawks hooker Jordan Kemp, 17, died yesterday afternoon after a suspected head clash during a Whangarei club rugby game on Saturday.


He was airlifted to Auckland City Hospital where his large network of friends and family were keeping vigil and waiting for relatives – including his older brother Joseph, who has cerebral palsy, and maternal grandparents – to arrive from Brisbane.

They did not make it in time to say goodbye.

Jordan, the triplet brother of Crishla and Michaela and son of Tania Cook and Aaron Kemp, was playing in the senior reserves game against Old Boys Marist when the injury occurred about 15 minutes before the final whistle.

Jordan’s aunt Karina Cook said 10 relatives from Brisbane were due to arrive in Auckland shortly before midnight last night and planned to head straight to the hospital.


“They were turning the machines off just before midnight so the grandparents from here can see him before they switch them off.”

But Jordan died at 3.45pm, his sister Crishla announced in an emotional social media statement.

Read the full story on the NZ Herald.