A Tongan rugby player has been found hiding in a fridge as he tried to dodge deportation from New Zealand.

The country's Immigration Service, along with police, went to a house in a suburb of Auckland following a tip-off.

They found the man, one of 14 Tongan rugby players who didn't return home from a trip to New Zealand last year, in the fridge.

Cabbages strewn across the kitchen floor apparently led officials to the fridge, says the Stuff website.

Immigration Service spokeswoman Kathryn O'Sullivan said: "When we went along we found him in the fridge with the cabbages cast aside for him to hide."

The service was considering whether to prosecute the people who harboured the man.

Three other players had previously been found, and Ms O'Sullivan urged the remaining players to hand themselves in rather than face a similar fate.