Former All Black Passes Away Aged 35

A sad week for rugby.

Former Chiefs and All Blacks forward Sione Lauaki has passed away, age 35. Lauaki had recently been on dialysis having been diagnosed with renal failure and cardiovascular problems in 2012.

The forward made his debut for the Chiefs in 2004 before earning an All Black call-up in 2005. He played 70 Super Rugby matches and was capped 17 times for New Zealand.

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Leaving for French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne in 2010, Lauaki made the move to Bayonne in 2011 before doctors discovered his health issues, ordering him not to train or play. This prompted Bayonne to release him from the club.

Lauaki made a huge impact on the New Zealand rugby scene, which saw him mentioned in the same breath as All Blacks teammates Rodney So’oialo and Jerry Collins.

May he rest in peace.