Samoan rugby player, Kelly Meafua has tragically died at the age of 31 after jumping from a bridge in France just hours after playing a match.
The back row played for French second division side Montauban and was celebrating a 48-40 win over Narbonne at the time of the incident.
According to reports, he had been celebrating the team’s last home game of the season before jumping off the Pont-Vieux bridge into the river Tarn, from a height of more than 20 metres.
Teammate, Christopher Vaotoa got into the water to attempt to find Meafua but was taken to hospital with hypothermia before Meafua’s body was found early Saturday morning.
“USM Sapiac painfully announces the death of Kelly Meafua on the night of Friday to Saturday. One of his teammates tried to rescue him, without success,” the club said in a statement.
“Transported to the hospital for hypothermia, he was released this morning in good health. All training is suspended until further notice.
“The entire USM Sapiac club is shocked by this tragedy, and has a thought for his wife, his children, his teammates, and more generally, all club lovers. Kelly was a player very appreciated by all, his joie de vivre was infectious and radiant.
After moving to Sydney, Meafua played for West Harbour in the Shute Shield and the Greater Sydney Rams in the National Rugby Championship.
He also represented the Waratahs in the Global Tens tournament in 2018, but never played a Super Rugby game for the NSW club.
Meafua played Sevens for Samoa and first came to France to play for Narbonne in 2015. He returned to play for Beziers in 2018 before switching to Montauban last season.
This season he had played 24 matches in Pro2, scoring eight tries.