By CAMERON BATES
Deano Herewini was stuck in traffic in Bali on October 12, 2002. In high spirits, the former Waikato B prop had been detained discussing which players would take the field in the next day's Bali 10s. He was eager to join team-mates who had left for the Sari Club five minutes ahead of him.
The cause of the hold-up: a van parked outside the club 100m further up the street - then detonated in an inhuman, cold-blooded slaughter that would eventually claim 202 innocent lives.
Thinking only of his friends, Herewini ran towards the inferno, past the bloodied and dying, and then past the dead.
Five members of the Jakarta-based International Sport Club of Indonesia (ISCI) rugby team, including New Zealander Jamie Wellington, were killed after stepping out of a taxi minivan in which Herewini was supposed to have been a passenger.
A sixth, who suffered burns as he helped a woman from the club, died in Singapore weeks later.
ISCI captain David Letchford told the Weekend Herald that the attack galvanised the close-knit Indonesian rugby community, with Herewini, 39, driving the republic's push towards achieving International Rugby Board (IRB) recognition.
Herewini's wife, Carmel Armstrong, said it was now imperative "that rugby survives in Jakarta and Indonesia".
The man himself is an imposing figure, weighing 10kg above his playing weight of 115kg when he last squeezed into a Waikato shirt in 1996.
He said that in the months leading up to the Bali bombing he and Jamie Wellington, the secretary of ISCI rugby, had discussed with team-mates over a few beers how to attain IRB status.
The former Hong Kong Rugby Union development officer who represented the country in 16 tests said he initiated the drive but his plan involved eventually bringing on board those with better skills in certain areas so he could focus on coaching.
At a meeting in 2002, the IRB stipulated that requirements must be met including an internal adult rugby competition among the teams dotted throughout the world's largest archipelago, junior rugby development, affiliated coaches, referees, sponsorship and an administration.
Recently established is the Indonesian Development Rugby, the precursor to what is hoped will one day be the Indonesian Rugby Football Union.
Herewini, who loves the Indonesian people and hopes to remain in the country to raise his children, said Indonesian rugby and the spirit of his friends would live on.
" 'Lest we Forget' - that's what it says on our ISCI shirts."
Herald Feature: Bali bomb blast
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By CAMERON BATES