Super Rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop dies aged 25

Super Rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop has died at the age of 25, New Zealand Rugby has confirmed.

The son of former All Black and Samoa outside-half Stephen and nephew of ex-All Black scrum-half Graeme, the winger had just ended a five-year spell with the Highlanders. He also played for the Maori All Blacks.

In a statement, New Zealand Rugby said he died “following a medical event” in Christchurch on Monday.

“All of rugby walks alongside the Garden-Bachop family at this time and we are collectively united in our grief,” read the statement, which was also signed by the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby and the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association.

“Connor was a fantastic young player, an exciting New Zealand age-grade representative and a proud Māori All Black.

“Wherever he played, he was a committed and popular teammate with infectious energy and someone who could light up the room.

“Most importantly, he was a loving father to his twin girls, a brother, a son and immeasurably loved by all those who knew him.”

The statement included a verse in the indigenous Maori language, which included the line “the rugby world weeps for you”.