FORMER Wallabies centre Richard Tombs has suffered a serious neck injury in a freak football accident on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Father of three Tombs, 50, has undergone emergency surgery in Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.

Tombs was playing as goalie in an over-35s match last Saturday for Curl Curl Youth Club when he bent to collect the soccer ball and collided with the thigh of a Wakehurst opponent at the same moment.

The match at Lionel Watts Oval at Frenchs Forest was abandoned and Tombs taken by ambulance to hospital.

Tombs, who played five Tests (1992-96), was a centre fixture for the NSW Waratahs after initially making his top-level debut for the Queensland Reds in 1988.

“We are all wishing the very best for Tombsy. He’s fit, a great guy,” said concerned teammate Michael Cooper.

“It was the most unfortunate accident. Tombsy collected the ball and the thigh of an opponent on the top of his head.

“He doesn’t normally even play as goalie … he was just filling in because our regular guy was out injured.”

Tombs’ former Sydney rugby union club Northern Suburbs posted their concern on Facebook.

“The Norths Family wish all the best to former Norths player, Waratah and Wallaby Richard Tombs,” the post said.

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