August 11, 2022

His teammates tried to rescue him, but were sadly unable to

Rugby player Kelly Meafua has died just hours after playing a match, after he jumped from a bridge with a drop of more than 20 metres in France.

The 32-year-old, who played for French club Montauban, jumped off the Pont-Vieux bridge into the River Tarn when celebrating his side’s 48-40 win against Narbonne in their final home Pro D2 game of the season.

Despite an attempt from a teammate, Meafua sadly died

According to reports in France, Meafua’s teammate, Christopher Vaotoa, tried to save the Samoan, however he had to be rescued by firefighters and was hospitalised with hypothermia before being discharged a day later.

Following the tragic news, Montauban released a statement, expressing their shock at the tragic news.

“The entire club is shocked and everyone is thinking of his wife, his children, his teammates and more generally everyone who loves the club,” they said.

“Kelly was a player who was well liked by everybody. His joy for life was infectious and radiant. Today we have lost a player, a friend and a brother.”

Meanwhile the Union Sportive Montauban Sapiac team paid tribute following the tragic news. They said: “U.S.M. Sapiac painfully announces the death of Kelly Meafua on the night of Friday to Saturday. One of his teammates tried to rescue him, without success.”

Meafua played for several clubs in France and Australia

Meafua didn’t start playing rugby until the age of 20 after he moved to New Zealand ,and played for Australia’s NSW Waratahs in the Global Tens tournament in 2018 while also featuring for Sydney-based clubs West Harbour and the Greater Sydney Rams.

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The 32-year-old also made the Samoa team for the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2013 and eventually moved to France in 2018, first playing for Narbonne and Beziers before joining Montauban in 2020.

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