Sad day in the land of the long white cloud.
Former All Black Sione Lauaki died suddenly at just 35 over the weekend.
No indication of what happened although he was diagnosed with heart and kidney problems in 2012.
He was capped 17 times (2005-8) as an All Black and prior to that he played for the Pacific Islanders 11 times.
He played for the Chiefs in NZ before continuing his career from 2010 in France with Clermont and Bayonne.
Lauaki stamped a mark on the game and possibly on McCaw’s cheek when he sent the Crusader’s flanker flying with an unstoppable fend during a Super Rugby fixture in 2007 –
The 70-cap Chief and 17-time All Black was known for his physical approach to the game on both defence and offence with big shoulder hits and fends painted throughout his career –
His former team the Chiefs paid tribute to Sione at the Brisbane 10s –
Too many rugby players going long before their time.