2019-03-02 by W.M.
Blues and North Harbour prop Mike Tamoaieta dies
Blues prop Mike Tamoaieta has died.
Black arm bands will be worn by the Blues, Chiefs and Crusaders players this weekend as a mark of respect for the late Blues prop Mike Tamoaieta.
Tamoaieta, who represented the Blues in 2018 and also played for North Harbour, died suddenly.
NZ Rugby confirmed the three New Zealand Super Rugby teams that have yet to play their round three games, and referees, will wear the black arm bands in memory of the popular front rower. There will also be tributes at the ground to show love and support for Tamoaieta’s family and friends and broadcasters in New Zealand and overseas will acknowledge the news in a broadcast.
Mike Tamoaieta scores a superb try at the Brisbane 10s last year.
Tamoaieta, 23, was a much-loved partner to Helen, and father to their daughter Aihana, and a dearly loved son and friend to many, NZ Rugby said in a release.
Blues chief executive Michael Redman said the Blues were stunned by the news and deeply saddened at his death.
“Michael was a talented athlete and our focus is to offer our support and sympathy for the family, and we are supporting our team and staff, some of whom are currently overseas.”
Tamoaieta played two games for the Blues last year but was left out of the squad this season.
The Blues will pay their respects to their old team-mate and friend when they play the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning (NZT). The Chiefs meet the Sunwolves in Hamilton on Saturday night, followed by the Crusaders facing the Reds in Brisbane.
The Blues are scheduled to play at QBE Stadium – Tamoaieta’s home ground – next week and this match is set to be a very special occasion to remember him.
North Harbour general manager David Gibson said: “Our deepest sympathy goes to Michael’s partner Helen, his daughter Aihana and his family at this difficult time. He will be dearly missed.”
— NZRugby Players Assc (@nzrpa) March 1, 2019
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said: “Our sincerest condolences are with Michael’s family at this very sad time.”
“Michael was a valued member of the Blues and North Harbour rugby environments and had been part of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team. We know his family, club and former school-mates will be feeling this loss and our thoughts are with them all.”