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NZ Rugby saddened with passing of former Blues player

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New Zealand Rugby today joined with the Blues and Auckland Rugby players, coaches and management to express their sadness with news of the passing of former Blues and Auckland player Kurtis Haiu.

Kurtis had been suffering from a rare form of bone cancer which prematurely ended his promising rugby career.

He played 53 times for the Blues between 2006 and 2011 and 76 times for Auckland between 2005 and 2010 before illness ended his career.

“The Blues family are deeply saddened by this news. Several of our players were close to Kurt and have spent time with him over the past weeks and months,” said Blues CEO Michael Redman.

“It is clearly a tragedy for someone so young, and our thoughts are with Kurtis’ family.”

“This is a devastatingly sad time for Kurtis’ young family, and for his rugby family,”  New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said.

“Kurtis was a very talented rugby player who was also showing some great skills as a leader.  Like a lot of forwards, he never shied away from the tough stuff and it is a real tragedy he didn’t win this.

“We offer our condolences to Kurtis’ family and our thoughts at this time are very much with Kurtis’ wife Frieda, and their two daughters Aaliyah, 8, and Sienna, 6,” he said.

Kurtis Haiu was born in Whangarei in 1984. He made his provincial debut for Auckland in 2005 against the British & Irish Lions, playing over 70 games for the blue and whites through until 2010. The following year he made his Blues’ debut against the Hurricanes, going on to play 53 games for the club before his diagnosis with Ewings Sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer – prematurely ended his season and career.

A talented lock, his potential was identified early – he wore his first black jersey while at Sacred Heart College – and Haiu represented New Zealand at Secondary Schools (in 2002), Under 19 (2003) and Under 21 (2004) levels.

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