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Taniela Moa dead: Tonga rugby legend dies aged 36 as tributes flood in

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Former Tonga halfback Toniela Moa has tragically passed away aged 36. Tonga Rugby Union labelled Moa a ‘legendary great’ within the sport as they released a statement confirming his death.

The body confirmed the unfortunate news in a statement but the cause of death has not yet been revealed.

“A stalwart of Ikale Tahi Tonga rugby who will now have his named etched among the echelons of the legendary greats,” read the statement.

“Such sad news to receive about the passing of Taniela Moa.

“We would like to send our love and deepest condolences to his family through this sad and tragic time.”

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Samoa, Tonga’s fellow Pacific island nation, also paid tribute to Moa following his untimely death. 

In a statement, Samoa Rugby Union said: “We are shocked to hear of the sudden passing of our Uso, Taniela Moa. 

“Such a huge loss and gone too soon.”

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Moa was initially called up to the New Zealand squad in 2008, but he never took to the field for the famed All Blacks.

Despite the call-up, Moa was still eligible to play for Tonga as he failed to appear for New Zealand.

After making his debut in 2011, Moa went on to win 21 caps for Tonga.

He also appeared in all four games for the nation at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – which was won by the hosts.

He played in Tonga’s sensational 19-14 win over France, who would eventually go onto finish as runners-up when they fell 8-7 in the final.

Moa’s final appearance for his country came in 2015 when Tonga lost 30-22 to Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup

At club level, Moa played for New Zealand provincial teams Auckland and Bay of Plenty, while he also represented the Blues and Chiefs in Super Rugby.

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