Former Fiji and Leicester centre Seru Rabeni has died at the age of 37, the Premiership club has announced.
The Bua-born back represented Fiji at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and played for Leicester between 2004 and 2009, before joining Leeds. Rabeni also appeared for Fiji Sevens in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and played for New Zealand club Highlanders.
Nicknamed Rambo because of his tendency to marriage pace and ferocious tackling, Rabeni died at his home in Nausori on Tuesday 15 March. The Fiji village website said that the cause of the death was unknown but quoted his father in law as saying that he had been “sick for a while”.
Leicester will hold a minute’s applause at Sunday’s Premiership match against Saracens at Welford Road for their two-time league winner, who scored 18 tries in 63 club appearances. He earned 30 caps for Fiji, scoring 10 points. Rabeni also represented the Pacific Islanders combined international team, who played from 2004 to 2008.
Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen has remarked, “Seru was a lovely man, he was extremely friendly, very popular among the players and the staff. He always had a smile on his face. He always made light of even difficult situations. He generally brought warmth to the training ground and the whole of Welford Road”.
Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan posted his condolences on Twitter, “Incredibly sad news to hear Seru Rabeni has passed away. Rest in peace big man”.
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