Hoani MacDonald is in serious but stable condition after
collapsing mid-match at Pukekohe this afternoon.
The Southland player had vigorous CPR performed on him for five minutes before being taken away in an ambulance at 3.15pm.
The 34-year-old is in Middlemore Hospital where he has been put in an induced coma and is stable.
New Zealand Rugby Union General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said the NZRU is working with Rugby Southland and Chief Executive Brian Hopley to support Hoani's family and his team mates.
Arrangements are being made for Hoani's fiance, their two young children and his mother to fly from Invercargill to Auckland to be with him. The Southland team manager will remain in Auckland with Hoani.
He was playing against Counties Manukau when he collapsed near the pitch at EcoLight Stadium.
Counties Manukau won the match 48-23 with four tries in the final 11 minutes, earning a home match for the NPC Championship final against Otago.
They initially kept playing while MacDonald was down, with Southland even scoring a try.
A spectator said she saw MacDonald collapse away from the play before he was put in recovery position by a team mate.
"He tried to stand up but then just fell over holding his chest," Charleen Beach said. She watched as medics performed CPR for nearly 10 minutes before a defibrillator was used.
A stadium staff member on site said "we got him back".
MacDonald made his New Zealand Maori debut in 2004. He has also represented the Junior All Blacks (in 2006 and 2007).
At provincial level he plays for Southland in the Air New Zealand Cup and the Highlanders in Super Rugby.
He hails from the MacDonald family of Marlborough, one of the most noted rugby families in the country.