Tributes flow in for Sione Lauaki

The New Zealand and Waikato Rugby Unions confirmed Sunday the death of Tonga-born Sione Lauaki.

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.

His death was announced by the All Blacks and his former club team, the Hamilton-based Chiefs.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Sione's family and friends and with the entire Chiefs whanau (extended family) as today we have lost a brother".

New Zealand rugby also offered their condolences, recalling his worldwide career achievements.

Tributes are flowing in for Sione Lauaki who tragically passed away on Saturday from kidney failure.

The All-Black loose forward, who gained 17 test caps for New Zealand between 2005-08, had been suffered from heart and kidney problems, per BBC Sport. Lauaki made 70 appearances between 2004-10 with the Chiefs, remarkably scoring the exact same number of points.

The All Blacks stated on Twitter "The thoughts of everyone are with the family of Sione Lauaki".

The news follows 15 months on from the death of All Blacks great Jonah Lomu, and less than two years since another former New Zealand star, Jerry Collins, died in a vehicle crash.

  • Julie Sanders