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Former Tonga back Taniela Moa dies at 36

Former Tonga international halfback Taniela Moa has died at the age of 36, the country’s rugby ruling body announced on Thursday.

“Such sad news to receive about the passing of Taniela Moa,” wrote the Tonga Rugby Union on their Twitter account without giving a cause of death.

Moa, who could play scrum half or fly-half, appeared 21 times for Tonga between 2011 and 2015. 

He started at scrum half in the team that upset France in the group phase at the 2011 World Cup.

He spent six seasons in France with Pau. He also played in New Zealand for the Super Rugby teams the Blues and Chiefs and for Auckland.

“Sad news,” tweeted Pau, adding that Moa had helped propel the club back to the Top 14 and had appeared for the Baby Blacks, New Zealand’s junior rugby team.

“An atypical player who lit up (Pau’s home ground) the Hameau,” said president Bernard Pontneau on the club web site.

“He had a form of genius in his position,” added Pontneau. “He was a very likeable lad.”

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