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Former All Blacks star dies at 58

<p>Former All Black and Canterbury stalwart Shayne Philpott has died aged 58. </p> <p>The former New Zealand rugby union player died on Tuesday after a medical event. </p> <p>Philpott was All Black No.895 and a prolific points scorer during a decade-long career for Canterbury, playing 113 games for them. </p> <p>His death has been confirmed by New Zealand Rugby. </p> <p>"Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of former All Black Shayne Philpott, who has passed away aged 58," their tribute read on social media. </p> <p>"Philpott played 14 matches for the All Blacks between 1988-1991, and was a stalwart of Canterbury rugby. </p> <p>"Rest in love All Black #895 🖤"</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of former All Black Shayne Philpott, who has passed away aged 58.</p> <p>Philpott played 14 matches for the All Blacks between 1988-1991, and was a stalwart of Canterbury rugby.</p> <p>Rest in love All Black #895 🖤 <a href="https://t.co/M7IcglhhxW">pic.twitter.com/M7IcglhhxW</a></p> <p>— New Zealand Rugby (@NZRugby) <a href="https://twitter.com/NZRugby/status/1805737931849572842?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>Philpott started playing for Canterbury in 1986 at the age of 20, before being selected by the All Backs and making his debut on the 1988 tour of Australia. </p> <p>He played 12 games and two Tests for the All Blacks, and was known for his versatility as he could fill most positions in the backline. </p> <p>Loved ones have paid tribute to the rugby player and father. </p> <p>“It is with a very heavy heart that we share the shocking news of Shayne Philpott’s passing today ..." one family member wrote on Facebook. </p> <p>“A much-loved father and brother. Rest in peace brother.”</p> <p>“It’s just unfathomable…,” another emotional tribute read. </p> <p>“Shayne Philpott you have been the epitome of humbleness and decency. I will miss you at celebrations, with your great yarns and humour.</p> <p>“I’m just so terribly sad we don’t get to say goodbye, and to thank you for being you. You are gone way too soon my friend. Rest in peace and love, you wonderful human xox.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p> <p> </p>

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Super Rugby player dies at just 25

<p>New Zealand rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop has died aged 25.</p> <p>Police were called to the scene of a sudden death in Fendalton, Christchurch just before 6pm on Monday, according to the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“The death is not being treated as suspicious and will be referred to the Coroner,” police said.</p> <p>Garden-Bachop, son of former All Black Stephen Bachop, was part of the Highlanders' Super Rugby squad this season, and they have also confirmed his death in a statement shared on Facebook.</p> <p>“On behalf of the entire rugby community, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby, New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association would like to extend our deepest thoughts and love to the Garden-Bachop family,” the statement read.</p> <p>“Connor passed away on Monday following a medical event, and rugby’s collective focus at this time is on supporting his family.</p> <p>"All of rugby walks alongside the Garden-Bachop family at this time and we are collectively united in our grief," the statement continued. </p> <p>“Connor was a fantastic young player, an exciting New Zealand age-grade representative and a proud Māori All Black. Wherever he played, he was a committed and popular teammate with infectious energy and someone who could light up the room.</p> <p>“Most importantly, he was a loving father to his twin girls, a brother, a son and immeasurably loved by all those who knew him.</p> <p>“NZR, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby and the Players Association are providing support and we ask that the privacy of the Garden-Bachop family is respected.”</p> <p>Garden-Bachop, an outside back, made his Highlanders debut in 2021. After five seasons with the team, the Highlanders announced on Facebook last week that he would not return to the team next season. </p> <p>The rugby player is survived by his twin daughters. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

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Rugby League hero dies at just 41

<p>Rugby League legend Rob Burrow has passed away at the age of 41 after a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease. </p> <p>The British footballer spent his career with the Leeds Rhinos and helped them win eight Super League titles, and while he never played in Australia, he won the World Club Challenge over NRL opponents three times. </p> <p>Just two years after his retirement in 2017, Burrows was diagnosed with MND. </p> <p>Despite his rapidly progressing condition, Burrows stayed in the public eye to raise money and awareness for MND, and soon became the face of the fight against the disease in the UK. </p> <p>He worked with former teammate Kevin Sinfield to raise millions for a new care centre for MND patients, as the pair competed in <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/terminally-ill-rugby-player-carried-across-marathon-finish-line-by-his-best-mate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">marathons</a> today, with Sinfield often pushing Burrow the entire way.</p> <p>His former football club announced Burrow’s death on Sunday, just one day before the groundbreaking of the new Rob Burrow Centre for MND at Seacroft Hospital, which will go ahead at his request.</p> <p>“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved son, husband, father, brother and friend,” the club said. </p> <p>“Rob has always been a true inspiration throughout his life whether that was on the rugby league field or during his battle with MND. He never allowed others to define what he could achieve and believed in his own ability to do more."</p> <p>“The outpouring of love and support that Rob and the whole Burrow family have received over the last four and a half years meant so much to Rob."</p> <p>“For those who knew Rob throughout his life, his determination and spirit in the face of MND over the last four and a half years came as no surprise. Rob never accepted that he couldn’t do something. He just found his way of doing it better than anyone else."</p> <p>“He will continue to inspire us all every day. In a world full of adversity. We must dare to dream.”</p> <p>Prince William, who awarded Burrow with a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) honour in January 2024, was among those to mourn his death on social media.</p> <p>“A legend of rugby league, Rob Burrow had a huge heart,” he wrote.</p> <p>“He taught us ‘in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream’. Catherine and I send our love."</p> <p>Burrow is survived by wife Lindsey and their three children Macy, Maya and Jackson.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-a2c455fc-7fff-0630-5b08-a5edde63e557">Image credits: SplashNews.com/Matt West/BPI/Phil Noble-Reuters/POOL supplied by Splash News/Shutterstock Editorial</span></em></p>

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Kiwi rugby star found dead at just 33

<p dir="ltr">New Zealand rugby player Billy Guyton has been found dead at the age of 33. </p> <p dir="ltr">The death of the halfback player, who played for the Blues, Crusaders and Hurricanes, was confirmed by the Tasman Rugby Union.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Billy Guyton (a 52 game Mako player, and recent coach of our FPC Mako team),'' the Tasman union said in a statement.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Billy was a much-loved member of our whole Tasman Rugby Union team and had a positive impact on those he played alongside and coached. Billy has been a major contributor to the development of women's rugby across our Tasman region.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"Our condolences and aroha are extended to Billy's whanau, friends and colleagues during this sad time.''</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Billy Guyton. Billy was a much-loved member of the Blues from 2016-17, as well as playing for the Crusader and Hurricanes. Our condolences and aroha are extended to Billy’s whānau, friends and colleagues during this sad time. <a href="https://t.co/5KBfCpRyPV">pic.twitter.com/5KBfCpRyPV</a></p> <p>— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) <a href="https://twitter.com/SuperRugby/status/1658007748800548864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 15, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">During his prolific career, Guyton also represented the Māori All Blacks, Tasman and North Otago, but it was his time playing for the Blues that had the biggest impact on his sporting career. </p> <p dir="ltr">Guyton was a member of the Blues squad in 2016 and 2017, and played 24 Super Rugby games for the franchise.</p> <p dir="ltr">Upon hearing of his death, the Blues said in a statement, "We are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Billy Guyton... we cannot imagine the heartache his family and friends must be feeling at this difficult time. To everyone who knew Billy, we send them our sincere sympathy."</p> <p dir="ltr">Guyton was forced to announce his retirement from playing in 2018, after concussion symptoms continued to impact his daily life. </p> <p dir="ltr">After retiring, the Tasman union announced Guyton was working as an assistant coach with the women's provincial team, where he guided the Marist side to a title in the senior women's club competition.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Terminally-ill rugby player carried across marathon finish line by his best mate

<p>There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd when best friends Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield crossed the finish line of the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon.</p> <p>The two Leeds Rhinos players have been raising money and awareness for people with Motor Neurone Disease since Burrow’s 2019 diagnosis, with the two raising an impressive total in the millions.</p> <p>And now, the pair have raised spirits and warmed hearts with Sinfield’s act at the end of their Leeds race, when he picked Burrow up from his chair and carried him over the finishing line. Before that, Sinfield had been pushing Burrow’s chair for 26.2 miles (42.2 km). </p> <p>The moment was met with cheering and applause as the wo concluded their marathon just after the 4 hour 22 minute mark, both from those who were there to witness it in person and from those who saw footage later when it circulated online. </p> <p>One Twitter user even went on to dub Burrow an “absolute gem of a human”, while another was certain that they were a “pair of absolute heroes”. </p> <p>“What a mate! Unbelievable in a world full of cr*p at the moment there are some genuinely lovely moments. These lads have been into battle together on the pitch for club and country,” one wrote. “It’s choked me up, I’m not going to lie.”</p> <p>“A bunch of legends,” someone else declared. “I’ve properly welled up watching this, this is what friendship is, to the ends of the earth and back.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Beautiful.</p> <p>Kevin Sinfield carried Rob Burrow over the finish line at the end of the first Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon 🥹 <a href="https://t.co/JFdd9XGgV4">pic.twitter.com/JFdd9XGgV4</a></p> <p>— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCSport/status/1657736670458916865?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 14, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Prior to the event, Sinfield had spoken about the race to <em>The Sun</em>, and its 12,500 reported participants, as well as the thousands lining the streets to watch, and what it meant to be undertaking the marathon together. </p> <p>“Even if it was just Rob and I, we’d have a great time,” he said, “there’s no better way to do it than with your mate. The fact people want to share in it and do their own little bit is incredible.</p> <p>“This will be with mates, for mates and alongside mates, absolutely. Look across the world at big cities where marathons are run, there’s nothing like this.</p> <p>“We’ve not done any training. We ran a 10km together last July and that’s part of the challenge, doing something neither of us have done before. The unknown adds to the fun of it.</p> <p>“He’s in a custom-made chair but it could be a bumpy ride. I’ll try and find him the safest, comfiest route but if there are hills, there are hills. If it rains, it rains.”</p> <p>And as Burrow himself said to <em>The Guardian</em>, when asked about the seven marathons in seven days that Sinfield had run on behalf of Burrow, his family, and their fight against MND, “we all need a friend like Kevin.” </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Body of missing Rugby League player found

<p dir="ltr">The body of missing rugby league player Bryn Hargreaves has been discovered, one year after he went missing without a trace.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hargreaves was 36 years old at the time of his disappearance, after he was reported missing in January 2022 after he failed to show up for work.</p> <p dir="ltr">His sudden disappearance sparked a major search operation led by police and tracker dogs in West Virginia, according to reports from <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/21770264/rugby-league-bryn-hargreaves-disappearance/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">More than a year after he was last seen, his body was found in dense woodland near the US home of Hargreaves, according to the <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11881511/EXCLUSIVE-Rugby-league-star-Bryn-Hargreaves-woodland-near-home.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mail</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Bryn’s older brother Gareth broke the news of the discovery in an emotional Facebook post.</p> <p dir="ltr">He wrote, “RIP Bryn Hargreaves. With incredible sadness I can confirm after 14 months we have finally found Bryn.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We still do not know the cause of death or what actually happened on 3/1/22. Thanks to all those that have helped in the search.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We would appreciate a little space and will keep you updated when we have any further information x.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After a member of the public found the body and alerted the authorities, Monongalia County Sheriff’s office sent the remains to the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office for a post-mortem and positive identification.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hargreaves, who hails from the UK, began his sporting career as he played in Super League for Wigan, St Helens and Bradford before retiring and moving to the States to work in the oil and gas industry at 26 years old.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hargreaves’ mum Maria also spoke out following the tragic news of his confirmed death.</p> <p dir="ltr">She wrote, “I’m in bits #heartbroken my beautiful son Bryn I can’t think of any words to describe the pain xx.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite finding his remains, there has been no cause of death confirmed.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Why why WHYYYY Tom Jones' biggest hit is ‘cancelled’

<p>Choirs have been informed that they are no longer allowed to perform Welsh singer Tom Jones’ classic “Delilah” during international rugby matches at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.</p> <p>The announcement, made on Wednesday, came after allegations of misogyny, sexism, racism, and homophobia within the Welsh Rugby Union. Prior to banning the song, claims of a toxic culture within the WRU’s governing body were made public during a TV documentary, and chief executive Steve Phillips issued his resignation. </p> <p>Previously in 2015, the WRU had removed “Delilah” from its Test match playlists and half-time entertainment, but now guest choirs have been asked not to perform it. </p> <p>“‘Delilah’ will not feature on the playlist for choirs for rugby internationals at Principality Stadium,” a spokesperson for the stadium confirmed. </p> <p>“Guest choirs have also more recently been requested not to feature the song during their pre-match performances and throughout games,” he continued, “the WRU condemns domestic violence of any kind.</p> <p>"We have previously sought advice from subject matter experts on the issue of censoring the song and we are respectfully aware that it is problematic and upsetting to some supporters because of its subject matter."</p> <p>The lyrics of concern, written in the 1960s, reference a woman’s murder at the hands of her jealous partner. </p> <p>“I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door. She stood there laughing,” the song goes, “I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more.” </p> <p>The decision to ban the song has been met with mixed response, with many unsure that it was the right step towards tackling the WRU’s issues - or if it was even a step at all. </p> <p>“All the things they need to do,” tweeted WRU wing Louis Rees-Zammit, in what is believed to be a comment on the situation, “and they do that first…”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">All the things they need to do and they do that first….😶</p> <p>— Louis Rees-Zammit ⚡️ (@LouisReesZammit) <a href="https://twitter.com/LouisReesZammit/status/1620804107392155654?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 1, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>“Wrongheaded,” was what Welsh Conservative shadow sport minister Tom Giffard said of the decision. “One that amounts to simple virtue signalling, designed to ease the pressure the WRU are currently under. Calls to ban the song span at least the last decade, yet the WRU have chosen now to act.”</p> <p>He went on to state that people would rather see “institutional change” within the WRU, with better working practices and a refined complaint process. </p> <p>But, as he put it, “instead they are choosing to ban a much loved Tom Jones song. This action will solve nothing."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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“I’ll be playing for Liam”

<p dir="ltr">Rugby player Alexander ‘AJ’ Brimson has dedicated the rest of his NRL career to his late friend Liam Hampson, who was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/missing-queensland-cup-rugby-league-player-found-dead">found dead in a Barcelona nightclub</a> last month.</p> <p dir="ltr">Brimson was one of a group of friends travelling with Hampson through Europe when he went missing for 30 hours, with the Redcliffe Dolphins player later found by workers at the nightclub Sala Apolo.</p> <p dir="ltr">The two athletes had known each other since high school and later lived together in southern Queensland for four years.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 24-year-old made the dedication while speaking to the media on Wednesday, the first time he has done so since his friend’s death.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The club has been really good, and it's been good getting into a routine again, not just sitting at home all day," Brimson said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And hanging out with the mates, it's been a good distraction.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't want to be corny... but obviously I dedicate my season and my career to Liam.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I've got to get some sort of tattoo where it won't be under my jersey so I can point to it if I score a try or something.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-aace88cb-7fff-a188-ec0d-13e9554f6941"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">"I'll definitely be playing for Liam."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cj__oI8rO8q/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cj__oI8rO8q/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by AJ Brimson (@brimmmo)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Brimson went on to describe his mate as “a legend bloke” and “a good footy player” who “lived life to the fullest”.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was stingy as, never showered,"  he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Nah, he was a good bloke. We lived together for four years, went to school together from year nine to year 12. A legend bloke, a good footy player. He was probably on the verge of cracking NRL up there at (Redcliffe).</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was actually unlucky not to get a pre-season here (at the Titans) after his 2021 season with Tweed.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Happy as, lived life to the fullest, never stressed about anything."</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-abbe14bb-7fff-c15f-9ded-d370a4ce9fcb"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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Missing Queensland Cup rugby league player found dead

<p dir="ltr">A missing Queensland rugby league player has been found dead after an accident in a Barcelona nightclub.</p> <p dir="ltr">Redcliffe Dolphins player Liam Hampson, 24, was on holiday with several other teammates when he disappeared and was not seen for 30 hours.</p> <p dir="ltr">Reports from Spanish outlet La Vanguardia say that workers found Liam in the leisure complex at nightclub Sala Apolo.</p> <p dir="ltr">It suggested that Liam fell from a height of 10m and that police will be treating his death as an accident. </p> <p dir="ltr">The devastating news has broken family and friends who banded together desperate for Liam to come back home. </p> <p dir="ltr">Gold Coast Titans player AJ Brimson and Brisbane Broncos duo Jordan Riki and Jesse Arthars, first took to Instagram in efforts to track Liam down.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Ch1ppxzrCCP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Ch1ppxzrCCP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Liam Hampson (@hampo101)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Liam’s father Brett, took to Facebook announcing the heartbreaking news and asked for privacy as the family comes to terms with their loss. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Waking up to the news no one wants to hear, we are devastated to find out that Liam had an accident and sadly has not survived," he wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We are heartbroken to say the least. Liam had a heart of gold and was a much loved son, brother, grandson, uncle and friend. Words can not express our grief.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We can not thank his mates enough for being there with Liam having the time of his life and assisting in the search for our boy. Our thoughts are with them.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We are asking the media to respect our privacy as we work through this time."</p> <p dir="ltr">Liam’s sister Tiarna, also confirmed the shocking news remembering him as the “best brother”.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We are devastated to find out Liam had an accident and did not survive," Tiarno wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We are so heartbroken. Liam was the best brother I ever could of asked (sic) for and made me a better person.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We cannot express our grief.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We cannot thank the boys he was travelling with enough for assisting with his search and made sure his last days were the best of his life. Going to miss you so much, Liam."</p> <p dir="ltr">Liam was an up and coming rugby league player after playing three seasons for Tweed Seagulls before his move to Redcliffe for 2022.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Facebook/Instagram</em></p>

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"Probably the most gutting way to finish a game”

<p dir="ltr">Just a few seconds of gameplay have put the Bledisloe Cup out of reach of the Wallabies yet again after losing to the All Blacks by just two points following a controversial call from the referee.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Australian team had recovered from an 18-point deficit to lead 37-34 with just a minute left on the clock.</p> <p dir="ltr">When they were awarded a penalty just five metres from the goal line, the Wallabies chose Bernard Foley to take the kick, with referee Mathieu Raynal warning him not to use delaying tactics.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the clock ticked down on the final 60 seconds of the match, Raynal penalised Foley for time wasting, giving the All Blacks a free kick.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I say to your player, I say switch on the time and you play immediately and he wait, he wait, he wait, so that’s a scrum for the All Blacks,” Raynal told stand-in captain Nic White.</p> <p dir="ltr">Raynal’s call drew criticism from the commentators, with Stan Sport commentator Tim Horan describing the call as “ridiculous”.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I thought it was a disgraceful decision from the referee," Horan told Nine.</p> <p dir="ltr">"There's 90 seconds left in the game and he cracked under pressure, in one of the biggest games here in Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's a disgraceful decision and World Rugby need to look at it.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The big referees make decisions at that late part of the game and are calm about it.</p> <p dir="ltr">The All Blacks then used the penalty to their advantage, with fullback Jordie Barrett scoring and securing victory for the Kiwis.</p> <p dir="ltr">With a final score of 39-37, the All Blacks have continued the winning streak they’ve held since 2003.</p> <p dir="ltr">The loss devastated the Aussies, as fullback Andrew Kellaway described it as a “hard one to swallow” and captain James Slipper added that they “just fell short”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Absolutely gutted,” Slipper said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I actually don’t know what to say but we really wanted to put in a performance tonight and we just fell short there.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That is probably the most gutting way to finish a game in my opinion.”</p> <p dir="ltr"> Wallabies coach Dave Rennie also shared his players’ disappointment.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm gutted for our men because I reckon we deserved better," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It was a hell of a game of footy.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-663bfb33-7fff-dc52-da37-b0ea8cd63add"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">The Bledisloe Cup will see the Wallabies jet off to Auckland for their next match against the All Blacks to face them once again on Saturday, September 24.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Rugby League icon dead at 49

<p dir="ltr">The NRL world is in mourning following the death of legendary coach and former player Paul Green at the age of 49. </p> <p dir="ltr">The premiership-winning coach had reportedly not complained about any illness and was found dead at his home in Brisbane on Thursday. </p> <p dir="ltr">A post-mortem will be carried out to determine his cause of death.  </p> <p dir="ltr">Former Melbourne Storm and Maroons hooker Cameron Smith, who was coached by Green in the earlier days said he was “heartbroken” upon hearing the news.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A very sad part of the day,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s certainly rocked myself…and everyone in the rugby league world.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s a sad day for everyone involved in the rugby league family and community. We send our best wishes and condolences out to the entire Green family.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was fortunate enough, he was my kicking and catching coach when I was coming through at the Broncos and he was also my coach when I was at Wynnum.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I had a small amount to do with him but in the time I did, it was actually really interesting the year I was at Wynnum I ended up signing with another club to leave but we had a really tough start to the season. Greeny managed to turn the Wynnum Seagulls around and we won the premiership that year.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He’s a fighter. It’s a very sad day to see Greeny go like that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Green had an incredible NRL career, playing 162 first grade matches between 1994-2004 and winning the prestigious Rothmans Medal in 1995 as the game's best and fairest.</p> <p dir="ltr">He played for several different clubs including Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and the Brisbane Broncos.</p> <p dir="ltr">Green eventually swapped his playing boots to coaching ones as he took on the North Queensland Cowboys from 2014-2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">He helped the Cowboys finally win their first ever premiership in 2015. </p> <p dir="ltr">Green last coached Queensland’s State of Origin side in 2021 and was due for a comeback into coaching in 2023 with the new NRL team, Dolphins. </p> <p dir="ltr">Green is survived by wife Amanda and children Emerson and Jed.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Rugby star dead at just 28

<p>Queensland rugby league has been rocked after Michael Purcell sadly passed away on the morning of Sunday the 7th of August following a tragic car accident in Brisbane.</p> <p>The talented winger-fullback had played a total of 82 games for the Ipswich Jets and Brisbane tigers, he was only 28-years-old and had stand-out talent.</p> <p>Nicknamed “The Kangaroo Catcher” he was said to have once chased down a kangaroo during a race and was one of the fastest players in Queensland. His super speed led him to signing an NRL contract with the Melbourne Storm in 2021.</p> <p>“I am shattered, it’s so, so sad,” said Ben Walker, Purcell’s former coach at the Ipswich Jets, to the <a href="https://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/michael-purcell-dead-ipswich-jets-and-brisbane-tigers-player-dies-in-car-crash-at-28/news-story/799b098ca32602dcb44f0a7e9f27b44e" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Courier Mail.</a> “He was a really talented kid who definitely had the ability to play NRL.</p> <p>“We signed him to the Ipswich Jets and he ended up scoring 66 tries in 71 games. He had incredible speed.”</p> <p>His death has deeply rocked the rugby league community with tributes flooding in following the devastating news.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Queensland Rugby League has been rocked by the tragic death of former Ipswich Jets speedster Michael Purcell. He scored 66 tries in 71 games for the Jets and ran New York Marathon at age 18 as part of Rob de Castella’s indigenous running program. Sad news. <a href="https://t.co/BBpnkzZteJ">pic.twitter.com/BBpnkzZteJ</a></p> <p>— Pete Badel (@badel_cmail) <a href="https://twitter.com/badel_cmail/status/1556220720002109440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 7, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Sending our deepest condolences to the family of Michael Purcell after his sudden passing. </p> <p>Michael spent time with us during the pre-season of 2021 and also featured in our Albury trial 💜</p> <p>— Melbourne Storm (@storm) <a href="https://twitter.com/storm/status/1556410197639196672?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 7, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former Suzuki Brisbane Tigers Hostplus Cup player Michael Purcell also known as the Kangaroo Catcher 🧡🖤</p> <p>Purcey, 28-years young was Tigers player no. 1344 and played nine games for the Tigers across ...<a href="https://t.co/xz97Unka0k">https://t.co/xz97Unka0k</a></p> <p>— Suzuki Brisbane Tigers (@EastsTigers) <a href="https://twitter.com/EastsTigers/status/1556212953656860674?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 7, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Saddened to hear that the 'Kangaroo Catcher' Michael Purcell has passed away. A much loved member of the Jets family</p> <p>— Craig Sheppard (@CraigMSheppard) <a href="https://twitter.com/CraigMSheppard/status/1556247959075188736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 7, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

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"True great" of world rugby dies at 52

<p dir="ltr">All Blacks teammate Va’aiga Tuigamala, known as “Inga the Winger” to fans, has <a href="https://wwos.nine.com.au/rugby/vaaiga-tuigamala-former-all-blacks-winger-dies-at-52/a476dfff-65a7-4af6-b9c2-887c72576396" target="_blank" rel="noopener">died</a> aged 52.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-0aa5ab8d-7fff-12ed-d5f4-b7dc1d9d8a2a"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">New Zealand Rugby confirmed the news on Friday, describing Tuigamala as an “icon and inspiration” who achieved things “on and off the field others could only dream of”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">An icon and an inspiration. Va'aiga Tuigamala is an all-time great who achieved things on and off the pitch others could only dream of.</p> <p>All Black number 900, you will never forgotten. 🇳🇿🇼🇸 <a href="https://t.co/QPWVJOaQCO">pic.twitter.com/QPWVJOaQCO</a></p> <p>— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) <a href="https://twitter.com/AllBlacks/status/1496914705679814657?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 24, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Tuigamala played 19 tests for New Zealand and 23 for Samoa, and has been described as the first winger who used his size to run through opponents rather than around them.</p> <p dir="ltr">He later switched to rugby league and played 100 matches for English club Wigan, as well as playing for Samoa.</p> <p dir="ltr">Near the end of his career he returned to rugby, and signed with England’s Newcastle Falcons for a fee of $1 million, which was  thought to be a world record at the time.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-da9db066-7fff-358f-1345-8474879b4b0c"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">He was a fan favourite, a popular teammate, and known for his persistent smile and positive outlook.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">A true great who gave everything on the field for New Zealand and Samoa </p> <p>RIP Va’aiga Tuigamala <a href="https://t.co/2ojl9DeO6p">pic.twitter.com/2ojl9DeO6p</a></p> <p>— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) <a href="https://twitter.com/rugbyworldcup/status/1496846224317628418?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 24, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Tuigamala’s cause of death hasn’t been confirmed, and comes just weeks after his younger sister, Helen Verry, died following an accident at a West Auckland Church.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I suppose some of you have already heard the sad news of the passing of my baby sister Helen Verry,” he <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/all-black-and-samoa-rugby-legend-vaaiga-tuigamala-inga-the-winger-dies-aged-52/HH6WUQ5N4V3WLJFXP5HVWPRHP4/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wrote</a> on Facebook at the time.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The youngest of 15 of us. Helen, we miss you so dearly and words would never be enough to fill the hole you have left.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to his death, Tuigamala was about to launch a new video series where he talked openly about his health struggles, including his recent diagnosis with type two diabetes.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a trailer for the series, Tuigamala said he “was facing an early graveyard” and spoke of his family’s history with strokes.</p> <p dir="ltr">“When I say early grave, my father died at the age of 48 from a stroke. He wasn’t obese, but he had a stroke and died and left 15 children to my mum to look after,” he siad in the clip.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-d36dcd15-7fff-5060-7fe5-a0067eec00c4"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“I suppose for me, I just don’t want to be another statistic. … The reality is, unfortunately I’ve been diagnosed with type two diabetes recently. I’m obese as you can see. High blood pressure, I had a stroke about nine years ago. I have really - in rugby terms - just dropped the ball.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic news that Va’aiga (Inga) Tuigamala has passed away. He was a fine player, a true superstar. My deepest condolences go to his family and friends at this difficult time.</p> <p>— Sir Bill Beaumont (@BillBeaumont) <a href="https://twitter.com/BillBeaumont/status/1496900051385425937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 24, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Tributes to the rugby legend have emerged online from leading figures in both sports, as well as from the teams he represented over the years.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He was a fine player, a true superstar,” Bill Beaumont, the chairman of World Rugby, said. “My deepest condolences go to his family at this difficult time.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-8dd4e402-7fff-6b6a-2a1f-868c289cc4d4"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Jason Robinson, Tuigamala’s former teammate at the Wigan Warriors, said the man had changed his life.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Absolutely heartbroken!💔 I owe so much to this amazing man! Literally helped change my life when he came to ⁦<a href="https://twitter.com/WiganWarriorsRL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WiganWarriorsRL</a>⁩ from NZ. Sending all my love and condolences to the family at such a sad time. RIP brother 😢🙏🏽 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Inga?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Inga</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaigaTuigamala?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VaigaTuigamala</a> ⁦⁦<a href="https://twitter.com/Apollo11Rugby?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Apollo11Rugby</a>⁩ <a href="https://t.co/uwyDgrXqRW">pic.twitter.com/uwyDgrXqRW</a></p> <p>— Jason Robinson OBE (@Jason15Robinson) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jason15Robinson/status/1496797442561527812?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 24, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I owe so much to this amazing man. Literally helped change my life when he came to Wigan Warriors from NZ. Sending all my love and condolences to the family at such a sad time,” he tweeted.</p> <p dir="ltr">“An icon and an inspiration,” the All Blacks tweeted, along with a throwback photo and emojis depicting the New Zealand and Samoan flag. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Va’aiga Tuigamala is an all-time great who achieved things on and off the pitch others could only dream of.</p> <p dir="ltr">“All Black number 900, you will never be forgotten.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-23a88a2e-7fff-80a2-88c8-bcd7d8a720b7"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Oh no you DIDN'T: Burglar breaks into home of boxing and rugby champ

<p dir="ltr">Former Samoan international rugby and boxing star Lio Falaniko<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/burglar-picks-wrong-home-after-entering-former-samoan-heavyweight-boxing-rugby-stars-property/APAPH4CO2UDDYGZ7UHQ5ROZRWU/" target="_blank">has shared</a><span> </span>his surprise encounter with a burglar - after the unidentified man attempted to break into his home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Falaniko was sitting in his underwear at his Perth home on December 28 and deciding which movie to watch on Netflix when the bizarre event unfolded.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking to<span> </span><em>Perth Now</em>, the 51-year-old recalled how the burglar brazenly walked through his front door and headed towards the kitchen that afternoon - and what he did next.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’d just got home from the shops and the dude just walked straight into my house,” he recalled.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There were so many things that went through my head … with my ability and skills as a former boxer, I could have punched him to the moon and back.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img style="width: 500px; height:500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846778/240398722_1526032987742718_4294637066855466906_n.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/061ded385baf49108788c288486ba24b" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Rugby and heavyweight boxing star Lio Falaniko had a shock encounter with a burglar who strolled into his home one afternoon. Image: Lio Falaniko (Facebook)</em></p> <p dir="ltr">After the burglar realised the huge mistake he had made, he attempted to double back and sprint out the door.</p> <p dir="ltr">Unfortunately for him, Falaniko had already gotten to his feet, grabbing the robber by the neck and bringing him back into the house.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though the former rugby star was ready to have a go at the man, he decided against it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But the guy was so small, I felt sorry for him and he’s lucky I was still in the Christmas spirit,” Falaniko said. “So I told him to f*** off before I called the ambulance for him and wished him a Happy New Year.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He looked like he’d seen a ghost and ran.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With both Falaniko and the burglar walking away unscathed, the sports star had an important lesson to share.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You should be careful whose house you walk into,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perth locals soon weighed in on the situation, with many praising Falaniko’s decision not to harm the burglar.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What an absolute champion of a human being,” one person said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I would not have been as forgiving. However, well done to this fine example of a man,” another shared.</p> <p dir="ltr">Others poked fun at the burglar, with one person saying: “He probably ran home to change his pants”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Born in the Samoan capital of Apia, Falaniko went on to represent Samoa 21 times in international rugby between 1990 and 1999.</p> <p dir="ltr">From 1996 until 1999, he also played Super Rugby for the Otago Highlanders and Wellington Hurricanes.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for his boxing career, Falaniko fought in 10 professional heavyweight bouts between 2005 and 2011 in New Zealand and was undefeated.</p> <p dir="ltr">He now works as a personal trainer in Perth.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Lio Falaniko (Facebook)</em></p>

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Kiwi rugby star dies after freak accident

<p><em>Image: Ina Olaizola/ordizia rugby</em></p> <p>The Spanish Rugby Federation has paid tribute to Kiwi lock Kawa Leauma after he died following a "freak accident" in the Netherlands, aged only 32.</p> <p>The Auckland-born Leauma had been hospitalised and underwent surgery after he "suffered an accident that caused severe head trauma" on Saturday, the federation said.</p> <p>Spanish media reports said Leauma fell eight metres from a building in Amsterdam. It has been reported his condition had "slightly improved" on Sunday after surgery but worsened 24 hours later.</p> <p>"World Rugby, and Spanish rugby in particular, is in mourning, and from the Spanish Rugby Federation we can only thank the commitment of a player admired and loved by all his team-mates from XV del León [Spain's national men's team] and his club, AMPO Ordizia," the federation said in its obituary to Leauma.</p> <p>Leauma, who played for the AMPO Ordizia club in Spain's Basque Country, was in Amsterdam for Spain's Rugby Europe Championship match against the Netherlands.</p> <p>The federation said he died because of a "freak accident" suffered just hours after Spain beat the Netherlands 52-7 in a match that doubled as a qualifier for the next Rugby World Cup in France in 2023.</p> <p>He was on-track to make his official international debut for Spain after becoming eligible through three years of residency, but he was withdrawn at the last minute because of doubts about eligibility. He played in a friendly for Spain against an Italian side in Madrid in October. The federation said its president Alfonso Feijoo and Ordizia sports director Iñigo Marotias would meet Leauma's wife when she arrived in Amsterdam.</p> <p>In the obituary, Leauma was described as "a person who made himself loved" and made his mark on Spanish rugby.</p> <p>At 197cm and weighing 110kg, Leauma was hoping to become a regular in Spain's team.The federation said they would honour his memory by trying to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since their only appearance in the UK in 1999.</p> <p>Leauma played for a handful of Auckland clubs, including Otahuhu, Papatoetoe, Mount Wellington and Manukau Rovers. A blindside flanker, No 8 or lock, he represented Samoa's under-20s and played for Auckland's sevens team.</p> <p>Leauma also took his rugby career to Australia, playing for the Sydney Rays and West Harbour clubs in New South Wales, before moving to Spain in 2018.</p> <p>The Mount Wellington and Papatoetoe clubs led the tributes for Leauma on social media.</p> <p>"These posts aren't easy to do and this one in particular is pretty upsetting as this club acknowledges the passing of Kawa Leauma," Mount Wellington's Facebook post said.</p> <p>"Kawa was an integral part of our Mount Wellington Premier side, great player and humble both on and off the field and we enjoyed seeing him continue to thrive beyond his time at our club. He will be sorely missed by many of our community and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife and family as they navigate this tough time in a foreign country."</p> <p>Papatoetoe tribute's said "another brother gone way too soon".</p> <p>"Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Kawwa Leuma who passed away in a tragic accident whilst living abroad in Spain," the club's Facebook post said.</p> <p>"Kawwa had been playing professional rugby and just recently made his international debut for Spain. He was part of a strong Papatoetoe U21s team back in 2010.</p> <p>"Rest in love brother Kawwa."</p>

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Tragedy as rugby star's young son drowns

<p><em>Image: Getty </em></p> <p>The 10-month-old son of World Cup-winning rugby star Jannie du Plessis has drowned in their family swimming pool in South Africa.</p> <p>Tragedy struck as du Plessis, winner of 70 caps for the Springboks during a decorated career, celebrated his 39th birthday.</p> <p>Ex-South Africa international Rudolf Straeuli – who now serves as chief executive of du Plesiss’ current club, the Lions – confirmed the sad news. He told Sports24: “We, as Lions family, aren’t doing well.</p> <p>“I can confirm that this tragedy took place. We [are] all devastated.”</p> <p>He later added: “As I’m sure everyone can understand, Jannie and his family now need to be left alone to process this tragedy. We offer our full support to him and kindly request everyone to keep them in their thoughts and prayers.”</p> <p>Former rugby star Toks van der Linde paid tribute by posting a photo on social media of du Plessis holding his late son, alongside wife Ronel.</p> <p>It was captioned: “Please pray for Jannie du Plessis and his family.</p> <p>“His son of one year drowned last night, my heart is broken broken broken. So So sad.”</p> <p>Speaking to reporters ahead of this weekend’s Test match against England, South African forward Duane Vermeulen said the players were all thinking of their former teammate and his family.</p> <p>“They will be on our minds and all our condolences to Jannie and his family back home,” Vermeulen said. “It is a difficult time for them, but we will stand behind them and support them.”</p> <p>Another of du Plessis’ former clubs, the Sharks, also publicly mourned the family’s loss.</p> <p>A spokesperson said: “The Sharks extend our deepest condolences to Jannie, Ronel and the entire du Plessis family on the tragic loss of his young son.</p> <p>“Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”</p> <p>In a statement, local police captain Raymond Sebonyane said “police were called to a scene of drowning whereby a 10-month-old baby boy fell in the swimming pool”.</p> <p>Du Plessis and wife Ronel have two other children, daughters Rosalie and Hele.</p> <p>He was part of South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup winning squad alongside younger brother Bismarck.</p>

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"Outbursts of crying": Kefu speaks for the first time since brutal home invasion

<p>Wallabies star Toutai Kefu has spoken out for the first time since a brutal home invasion that left his family in hospital. </p> <p>He spoke to reporters outside his Brisbane home, saying "I'm taking it day-by-day."</p> <p>"At times you just, you know, there's outbursts of crying."</p> <p>Toutai's wife Rachel will remain in the hospital for a further two weeks, and may never gain full use of her arms back. </p> <p>Toutai, his daughter Maddi and son Josh were also stabbed during the attack. </p> <p>The invasion took place on Monday morning, when Toutai's wife heard rustling noises that she mistook for a possum. </p> <p>When she went to investigate, she was confronted by four teenage boys, aged between 13 and 15, and the invasion quickly turned violent. </p> <p>The teenagers allegedly started to attack the family with a machete and an axe, waking up Josh. </p> <p>"He absolutely went into beast mode, you know, I had the two intruders on me and he just jumped in with no fear, and he copped a couple of hacks to his back," Toutai said.</p> <p>"It could have been certainly a different outcome if he didn't turn up, he had no thought for his own safety."</p> <p>The four teenage boys responsible for the attack have been charged with 44 offences, including grievous bodily harm and attempted murder. </p> <p>Toutai thanked the police, doctors, members of the public and the rugby union community for the flood of support since the attack. </p> <p>"I'd just like to thank everyone for keeping us in their thoughts during that time."</p> <p>He said, "As a family we're very, very grateful and thankful to have that kind of support, so we really appreciate it."</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty Images</em></p>

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Wallabies legend rushed to hospital after home stabbing

<p><span>Former Wallabies star Toutai Kefu is in hospital after suffering serious injuries during an alleged home invasion at his home in Coorparoo, Brisbane on Monday morning.</span><br /><br /><span>Three members of Mr Kefu's family were also rushed to Princess Alexandra Hospital after reportedly being attacked as well.</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Kefu is the Tongan rugby union team head coach, and reportedly sustained an abdominal wound.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843145/toutai-kefu-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/6f7d17686a4d4bd29a6be533da31bdb5" /></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em><br /><br /><span>A man in his 20s will also allegedly need to undergo medical care for lacerations to his abdomen and back, while a woman in her 40s received an arm injury.</span><br /><br /><span>A teenage girl also has a hand injury.</span><br /><br /><span>Police say the attack happened after men broke into a house on Buena Vista Avenue.</span><br /><br /><span>One man was restrained and has been taken into custody.</span><br /><br /><span>The other offenders fled the scene in a car that sped off toward Woolloongabba.</span><br /><br /><span>Two men have been taken into custody but police say they have not been charged just yet.</span><br /><br /><span>Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has released a statement following the “shocking incident" involving Mr Kefu.</span><br /><br /><span>"Our thoughts and prayers are with Toutai and his family at this time," the QRU said.</span><br /><br /><span>"We offer our support to them and the wider Queensland rugby community who are affected by the incident."</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Kefu is a legendary sportsman in his own right, competing in 60 tests in the forwards for Australia, during his seven-year international career.</span><br /><br /><span>The 47-year-old made his debut for the Wallabies against South Africa in 1997 in Pretoria.</span><br /><br /><span>In 2001, he scored the match-winning try against the All Blacks, which gave Australia victory in the Bledisloe Cup.</span><br /><br /><span>He finished as the most capped Wallaby number eight of all time, with 58 tests.</span><br /><br /><span>He has been the head coach of the Tongan national rugby side since 2016.</span><br /><br /><span>He coached the squad through to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.</span></p>

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Guard of honour and emotional scenes at Bob Fulton state funeral

<p>Tributes have flowed for the late great Bob Fulton at the rugby league Immortal's state funeral.</p> <p>An esteemed list of the game's most well-known players attended the service to honour the life of 'Bozo', as he was affectionately known, who died last month at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.</p> <p>Among the most touching of memories shared at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral were that of his family, namely his son, Brett, who recalled heartwarming stories of his father's love.</p> <p>"He was the centre of our universe, he would talk to us multiple times a day," he said.</p> <p>"You knew it was Dad calling because it was a private number and he would always greet us with a familiar, 'Listen'.</p> <p>"[His grandchildren] will never forget him or the lessons learned.</p> <p>"From a young age I had a desire to want to make you proud. I hope I did that."</p> <p>Also in attendance was Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Health Minister Brad Hazzard, along with the game's administrators including Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys.</p> <p>Fulton's former colleagues, broadcasters Ray Hadley and Alan Jones paid tribute to their close friend.</p> <p>"This is a very sad moment for many of us but in a sense, no one ever dies until the memories fade away, and we have very special memories of Bob," an emotional Jones said.</p> <p>Ahead of the funeral, V'landys also took time out from his morning media schedule to honour the memory of Fulton.</p> <p>"It is a very sad day, certainly a very sad day for the family foremost, and our hearts go out to them," V'landys said on 2GB.</p> <p>"But it will be a funny day, because Bozo was a joker, that's how he got his name. What an inspiration he is to everybody, he was a migrant from England, lived in a fibro home in Unanderra, rose to play for Australia and become a legend.</p> <p>"Bob was an Immortal, but more-so he was also inducted into the National Sport Hall of Fame, a very rare situation for a rugby league player. That's the esteem he was held in, that's the great player that he was, and a coach, and then later on he was a funny addition to the Continuous Call Team."</p> <p>Fulton made 213 appearances for Manly between 1966 and 1976, scoring 129 tries and winning premierships in 1972, 1973 and 1976. He also played 50 games with Eastern Suburbs.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

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"It's killing the sport": Fans turn on Karl Stefanovic's Origin reporting

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Fans weren't impressed with the first week of Karl Stefanovic's reporting of the State of Origin, but they kept an open mind for his second appearance during the second game.</p> <p>His pronunciation of Queenslands players left fans angered, as he butchered several of their names.</p> <p>Many said that he should have known how to pronounce each name properly before going to air instead of making multiple errors and attempting to do it off the cuff.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CHKamFbl08p/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CHKamFbl08p/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">It’s combinations like this that are the reason we do what we do. You couldn’t pay for this if you wanted to. It’s state vs state. Its mate vs mate. Long live free to air television. @karlstefanovic_ @philgould69 - #imaginethechatintheads #stateoforigin #gusandkarl #channel9</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/onthe_airtonight/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> On The Air Tonight</a> (@onthe_airtonight) on Nov 4, 2020 at 12:50am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He tripped over the names of Felise Kaufusi, Tino Faasuamaleaui, Jai Arrow and Moeaki Fotuaika.</p> <p>Daily Telegraph sports editor James Silver was one of many to take Stefanovic to task on Twitter.</p> <p>“Question from someone who never watches brekkie TV: Is Karl Stefanovic usually this bad or is it just an Origin thing?” he wrote.</p> <p>Others agreed with him, saying he shouldn't be allowed to cover games again.</p> <p>"Karl Stefanovic should never be allowed to cover another rugba leeg game ever again, more names wrong than right," one person complained on Twitter.</p> <p>Another agreed.</p> <p>"Did Karl prnounce half the QLD origin team incorrectly? Embarrassing," a fan said on Twitter.</p> <p>"Serious question: Do boomers even enjoy Nine's coverage of the NRL? This s*** is so cringe it's killing the sport," one passionate fan complained.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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