Super Rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop died following a ‘medical event,’ New Zealand Rugby confirmed.

“On behalf of the entire rugby community, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby, New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association would like to extend our deepest thoughts and love to the Garden-Bachop family,” New Zealand Rugby said in a statement.

“Connor passed away on Monday following a medical event, and rugby’s collective focus at this time is on supporting his family. All of rugby walks alongside the Garden-Bachop family at this time and we are collectively united in our grief,” the statement continued.

Garden-Bachop represented the Māori All Blacks and spent five years with the Highlanders.

“The house of rugby laments the passing of one of its sons who graced the playing fields. It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Connor Garden-Bachop yesterday. He will be remembered as dynamic young player and popular teammate amongst the Māori All Blacks, Highlanders and Wellington. Our deepest condolences to Connor’s family, friends and teammates in this sad time. Arohanui,” the All Blacks wrote.


Per New Zealand Rugby:

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.

NZR, the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board, the Highlanders, Wellington Rugby and the Players Association are providing support and we ask that the privacy of the Garden-Bachop family is respected.”

CNN reports:

His father, Stephen Bachop, represented both Samoa and New Zealand at international level and his mother, Sue Garden-Bachop, played for New Zealand’s women’s rugby team, according to Reuters.

His uncle, Graeme Bachop, played for New Zealand at two Rugby World Cups and later for Japan at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.


Garden-Bachop’s sudden passing follows the death of 26-year-old professional goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

Sarkic reportedly fell ill at an apartment in the town of Budva in Montenegro.

26-Year-Old Professional Goalkeeper Dies, Reportedly Fell Ill At Apartment

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