Featherstone Rovers have launched a fundraising campaign to support seriously injured player Tangi Ropati.
Ropati’s jaw was broken in two places in a horror tackle in Rovers’ fourth round Carnegie Challenge Cup victory over Castleford Tigers earlier this month.
The 26-year-old Samoan international underwent an operation to have three steel plates and 13 pins inserted in his jaw and could be out of action for up to four months.
Ropati, who cannot eat solid food for two months, faces a massive loss in income as his VISA states he can only earn a living from playing rugby league for Rovers.
The stricken centre winger is unable to earn match fees which contribute a significant percentage of players’ incomes.
The horrific injury also means part-time player Ropati will miss Rovers’ biggest game in recent years.
The Championship club face cup holders and Super League giants Wigan in the fifth round of the Carnegie Challenge competition on Friday, April 27.
Rovers coach Daryl Powell said: “The club and the Featherstone community is working hard to support Tangi. It is difficult to recognise him at the moment because there is so much swelling around his jaw. He is upset and disappointed that he is going to be out of Rugby League for an extended period.”
All Ropati’s team mates donated a percentage of their win bonus from the win over Tigers to kick-start the fund.
Rovers’ commercial manager Paul Taylor said: “The club has been inundated with people sending messages of support to Tangi and asking how they can support him during his recovery.
“The win against Castleford Tigers will live long in the memory but we have to remember the sacrifices players make every week when they go over that white line for our entertainment.”
The Rugby Football League disciplinary committee last week banned Tigers player Rangi Chase for three games after he admitted the Grade C offence of “striking Tangi Ropati in a reckless manner”.
Donations can be made by making cheques payable to Tangi Ropati Support Fund which can be sent to HSBC, 11 Ropergate, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF8 1LJ. The account number is 51460587, sort code 40-37-04.
Call Featherstone Rovers on 01977 702386.