Samoan rugby player Kelly Meafua died after falling off the French bridge

French US rugby club Montauban has confirmed that the 32-year-old forward did not survive the fall into the River Tarn in the early hours of Saturday morning, despite efforts by a teammate to save him.

In a declaration shared on their website, the club expressed grief and shock over Meafua’s sudden death just hours after his team’s 48-40 victory over Narbonne in the country’s second division league.
Kelly Meafua during the Pro D2 match between Montauban and Perpignan at Sapiac stadium in Montauban on 30 January 2021

The club said Meafua’s Montauban teammate tried to revive and save him but had to be rescued by firefighters himself. He was hospitalized for hypothermia and discharged the next day.

“The whole USM Sapiac club is shocked by this tragedy and all thoughts are turned to his wife, his children, his teammates and, more generally, to all the loyal fans of the club”, the statement continues. .

The message, translated from the French, also paid homage to Meafua as a player “appreciated by all, his cheerfulness was communicative and radiant”.

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“Today we lost a player, a friend, a brother,” added the former Samoan Sevens star.

Jean-Baptiste Fourcade, a US spokesman for Montauban, told CNN Monday that the Montauban prosecutor has opened an investigation into Meafua’s death, adding that officials view it as a “tragedy” and not “a bad end for. a party”.

According to the Guardians, Meafu moved to New Zealand as a teenager. He enjoyed himself with the under-21 Otahuhu and the Auckland Sevens, before moving to Sydney to play for West Harbor and Greater Sydney Rams.

After moving to France in 2015, the Guardian reported, Meafu played for French second-tier teams Béziers and Narbonne.