A former team mate of All Blacks legends Richie McCaw and Dan Carter has been killed by a freak wave while swimming in France.
Englishman Rob Walton, 36, played for Canterbury B alongside McCaw, Carter - in Auckland preparing for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup decider - and another future All Black Chris Jack, according to his coaching profile.
Walton, a father of four who was known as 'Yogurt', played through the grades at the Hinckley rugby club in Leicestershire and came to New Zealand in 2001 and turned out for the Shirley club.
He had gone into the water on one of his children's body boards at Labenne beach, near Biarritz.
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A city spokesman said Walton may have fallen ill or been hit by a wave while a police source told the Mirror: "He was hit in the spine by a big wave and suffered whiplash injuries."
The Rugby Lions club, based in Webb Ellis Road in Rugby, issued a statement yesterday:
"It is with great sadness to announce the death of Lions Head Coach and friend Rob Walton.
"Yoghurt was instrumental in the rebuilding of Lions and his hard work, determination and sense of humour will be sadly missed by us all.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this sad time.
"He may have passed away but he will not be forgotten. Once a Lion, always a Lion.