A RUGBY player has died and one of his teammates is in hospital after the were taken ill while on tour in Sri Lanka.

The two men are part of Clems Pirates, which is affiliated to Durham City Rugby Club.

The veterans team, which is known for raising money for charity, is on tour in the Colombo area. 

A 26-year-old man, thought to be from Durham, is reported to have died while a 27-year-old man is said to be "critically ill" and is being treated in hospital.

They were admitted to hospital after they started suffering from breathing problems.

A statement by Durham City Rugby Club said: "Whilst touring Sri Lanka two members of the party suffered non-rugby related breathing problems and were admitted to hospital.

"Subsequently, one of the two has died and one remains in hospital."
The squad of 22 men is reported to have arrived in Sri Lanka on May 10 and played a friendly match at a ground in Colombo on Saturday.

Police spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera reportedly told the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror that the team was staying in a hotel in Colombo after playing their opening match against Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club.

According to Sri Lankan police, the players went to a nightclub after the match and returned to their hotel in the early hours of Sunday. 

The two players are said to have complained of breathing difficulties at around 10am.

The Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union is looking into the matter.

A spokesperson from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: "Our staff are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Sri Lanka, and are in contact with the Sri Lankan hospital services.
“We are assisting the family of a British man who has been hospitalised in Sri Lanka, and are in contact with the Sri Lankan medical services.”

The Pirates have been on tours all over the world, including South Africa, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, Holland, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nice, Cuba, Spain, Palma, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

While on tour, they also take kit and other supplies to local schools to help develop the sport.

And at home, they have raised around £60,000 for good causes, including Cystic Fibrosis, St Cuthbert’s Hospice, the North East Air Ambulance, Help for Heroes, Tabitha’s Toys, CRUK, Marie Curie, The Bubble Foundation, The British Legion, The Sea Cadets and The John Drummond Trust.