Rugby star dies after jumping off 20-metre bridge while celebrating victory

Samoan rugby player Kelly Meafua tragically died after jumping from a 20-metre bridge while celebrating his team’s victory in the south of France. Meafua and his team Montauban defeated Narbonne 48-40 in their final home Pro D2 game of the season.

According to reports the Samoan and his teammates headed out to celebrate the victory. Meafua then jumped from more than 20 metres on the Pont Vieux Bridge in the south of France into the Tarn River water below.

Following his jump his teammate Christopher Vaotoa rushed into the water to save the 32-year-old, however his attempts were to no avail.

Vaotoa’s attempts could well have cost him his life, after the prop forward had to be rescued by firefighters, before being hospitalised with hypothermia. Fortunately he then recovered and was released from hospital one day later.

Montauban released a statement paying tribute to Meafua. The statement read: “The entire club is shocked and everyone is thinking of his wife, his children, his teammates and more generally everyone who loves the club.

“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.” The Samoan star was a late bloomer in the world of rugby, after only taking up the sport at 20 years old after moving to New Zealand.

The 32-year-old then moved to Australia, where he played for NSW Waratahs, West Harbour and the Greater Sydney Rams. Meafua was also capped internationally, after competing for Samoa at the 2013 World Rugby Sevens Series.

He made the move to France in 2015 after signing for Narbonne in 2015. He then made the switch over to Beziers in 2018 before joining Montauban two years later. During his time at the club the Samoan scored eight tries in 24 Pro D2 matches.

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