Tributes have been paid to the Spain rugby union player Kawa Leauma who has died, aged 32.
The lock, who was in Amsterdam for Spain’s Six Nations B match against the Netherlands, had reportedly sustained head injuries from a fall and was admitted to hospital in a critical condition. He underwent emergency surgery, but died in hospital.
“We regret to announce the death of Kawa Leauma,” the Spanish Rugby Federation confirmed. An official statement said: “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 had played for Samoa’s under-20s and a number of Auckland clubs before switching his allegiance to Spain where he joined the first division club Ordizia. He had made just one unofficial appearance for Spain but was left out of the 52-7 victory in Amsterdam – a World Cup qualifier – because of issues over his eligibility.
“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Spain international Kawa Leauma,” the former England captain and World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont tweeted. “My thoughts are with his teammates & family at this difficult time.”