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Thread: Samoa legend Fatialofa dies, 54

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Samoa legend Fatialofa dies, 54

    Former Samoa captain Peter Fatialofa, who led his team to a win over Wales in one of the game's most stunning upsets, sadly passed away on Wednesday.

    Reports said Fatialofa suffered a heart attack in the Samoa capital Apia and died on his way to hospital. He was 54.

    The Samoa Observer newspaper said the nation was in mourning for the pioneering prop, who helped establish Samoa as a force in world rugby.

    Read more: http://www.planetrugby.com/story/0,2...010809,00.html

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    Veteran chibi's Avatar
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    It still feels like he only JUST retired; I can't believe it.

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    He contributed more to the world game than most.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Family, friends and sporting greats farewell Fats

    Last updated 13:10 13/11/2013

    PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax Media

    Yesterday would have been Peter ''Fats'' Fatialofa and his wife's 31st wedding anniversary but she said it was somehow appropriate they had been parted.

    The Samoan rugby legend was farewelled today and after dignitaries spoke of his huge influence his wife Anna revealed a little more of his roguish charm.

    She told the gathered mourners that yesterday would have been the landmark date but she told them: "no big deal".

    "After our wedding he chose to go out with all the boys...and that's Fats," she laughed.

    She joked about his love of a beer but it was his love of rugby and his family that was most prevalent.

    Today's funeral saw a near-packed house at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau. It was to be followed by his burial at the Manukau Memorial Gardens.

    Yesterday a memorial service was attended by more than 1000 people, including a host of rugby greats who paid their respects.

    Fatialofa, 54, died of a suspected heart attack in Apia last week.

    Despite being born in Auckland, his Samoan heritage was clear.

    His coffin was carried into the venue followed by the Ranfurly Shield and a huge red, white and blue Samoan flag.

    The country's high commissioner Leasi Tommy Scanlan thanked Fatialofa for everything he had done for Samoa both on and off the field.

    He described him as "a legend, an icon, a leader and a simple, humble man" - a straight talker.

    Auckland mayor Len Brown also paid tribute to one of the city's "favourite sons".

    "His greatest contribution here was his ability to unite us as a community," Brown said.

    "He wouldn't have been aware he was doing it but he most certainly was.

    Fatialofa's eldest child of eight, Jeremiah, said his father always went out of his way to help people and it was sometimes surreal to see the plaudits he received.

    "Everyone knew Fats as the great rugby player, the legend, the community man, the warrior but to my brothers and sisters, he was dad," he said.

    Fatialofa played for Manu Samoa 34 times between 1988 and 1996.

    He played in two World Cups, most memorably leading Samoa into the quarterfinals in the 1991 tournament, thanks to an upset win over Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.

    The Ponsonby club stalwart played 72 games for Auckland and was part of their stunning Ranfurly Shield reign from 1985 to 1993.

    The burly prop, who had the Samoan chiefly title of Papali'itele, was often the custodian of the Log of Wood and became a cult figure.

    His strength was honed working in his furniture removal business and he became known as New Zealand's most famous piano-mover.

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