Second-row forward Kawa Leauma has died at the age of 32 after suffering a fall following Spain’s World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands.
Auckland-born lock Leauma apparently fell over a distance of eight metres in a “freak accident” and suffered serious head injuries in the evening after the game.
He underwent two emergency operations in an Amsterdam hospital, but died on Tuesday.
A statement from the Spanish Rugby Federation read: “The Spanish Rugby Federation regrets to announce the death of Kawa Leauma overnight, AMPO Ordizia and XV del León player, who suffered an accident on Saturday, 18 December after Spain’s match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
“At the express wish of his wife, who is currently travelling to the Dutch capital, we cannot give any further information at the moment and we ask for the utmost respect for her and her family. Rest in peace, Kawa.”
Leauma, who played for Samoa at U20 level before switching allegiances, had initially been named in Spain’s squad and would have made his debut in the World Cup qualifier after completing three years’ residency, but a last-minute doubt was raised over his eligibility and he was withdrawn.
“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Spain international Kawa Leauma,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said. “My thoughts are with his teammates & family at this difficult time.”
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