Fiji Rugby International Seru Rabeni dies at 37
The Pacific rugby community remembers former Fiji international Seru Rabeni, who died of a heart attack at the age of 37.
The former Fiji rugby international Seru Rabeni is being remembered as a "cheerful", "team man" who was "full of life."
Tributes have been flowing from throughout the rugby community for the former Highlanders and Leicester Tigers flyer, who died of a heart attack at the age of 37.
Vinnie Wylie spoke to some of those who played with and against him.
Iliesa Tanivula played with Seru Rabeni in the 2004 Highlanders team and says he was shocked when he heard the news.
After leaving New Zealand, Rabeni played for Leicester and Leeds Carnegie in England and had spells at French clubs La Rochelle and Mont-de-Marsan before getting into coaching.
He represented the Flying Fijians 30 times, playing at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and also featured on the World Sevens Series and at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen said Rabeni was a lovely, lovely man and anyone who saw the 2007 English Premiership Final will never forget his performance that day.
Hale T-Pole played with Rabeni for both the Highlanders and Pacific Islanders and was assigned by the Otago Rugby Union to look after him when he first arrived in New Zealand 16 years ago.
He also remembers their battles when Tonga came up against Fiji.
HALE T-POLE: "It was interesting when you played against Seru because most, all of their backs are the same. I played against him at Otago and he was someone to watch for. He was very destructive on the field but mate just the smile and a typical Fijian that people would love to hang out with. I saw him in Hong Kong last year during the sevens so we caught up there."
Hale T-Pole says things were going well for Rabeni professionally - he was running a few businesses in Fiji and was due to fly back to Hong Kong this week.
HALE T-POLE: "We were there yesterday when we got the news of his passing so I caught up with a couple of rugby Fijian legends I played with and then we had a bowl of kava and talked about Seru and went over and saw him last night at the hospital (in Nausori)."
The tributes have been flowing on social media from around the world...
Former Australia winger Lote Tuqiri, who was born in Fiji, tweeted Rabeni was "a great man taken way too young".
Former Samoa international Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu labelled him "one of the Pacific Greats" while former England first five Jonny Wilkinson said "what a player and a team man."
The Pacific Island Players Association says their Fijian rep will find out some details so they can sit down and see how they can assist Rabeni's family going forward.
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