The whole of the rugby club is in shock after Kelly Meafua, the Samoan back-row forward was found dead. The player reportedly jumped from a bridge into the Tarn river and that too only a few hours after he played in a French second division match.
Apparently, a teammate from the club jumped behind Meafua to save him from drowning however it was in vain and his attempt at saving his teammate’s life failed. The two were out celebrating their victory in the latest match.
Here is everything we know about Kelly’s death:
Who Was Kelly Meafua?
Kelly, born on 16 October 1990 was a flanker in the Samoan rugby union. At the age of 14, Kelly moved to Auckland and started playing rugby by the age of 20 after joining Otahuhu. He has played Auckland under-21 as well as Auckland Sevens while he was there.
Kelly moves to Sydney later on and joined the West Harbour on Shute Island and then a few years later he became a player for the Greater Sydney Rams. Kelly was also part of an extended training squad called Waratahs.
Apparently, Kelly had been out celebrating with another member of the club, Christopher Vaotoa after their victory of 48-40 by Montauban over Narbonne which happened just hours ago. Kelly, who was 32 at the time of his death apparently fell in the Tarn river of the Occitania region.
The time this incident happened was early morning on Saturday. It has been reported that Vaotoa jumped into the water behind Kelly to save him but was unable to save his life. Vaotoa got hypothermia from jumping into the river and was taken to the hospital. He was discharged later on Saturday.
In Sapiac, the US Montauban pays a moving tribute to Kelly Meafua, tragically deceased https://t.co/KPiqh4Juop
— mohamed el amine (@Mohamed04680219) May 10, 2022
The Club’s Reaction
Montauban reportedly said that the whole club was in deep shock after receiving the news of Kelly’s death. They released a statement that 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,” the translated statement read. “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.”
Vaotoa also mourned the death of his fellow friend and teammate and wrote in French on Instagram: “REST IN PEACE MY BROTHER. SORRY MY USO I FAILED. When I think back to all our moments and your last moments, I tell myself that life is really unpredictable and that you have to take advantage of every moment.”
According to the club, an investigation surrounding the incident has been started by the authorities.