Rugby Quentin Pongia, forms New Zealand rugby league captain, dies...

Quentin Pongia, forms New Zealand rugby league captain, dies aged 48 | Sport

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Tributes are flowing in for form Canberra and New Zealand forward Quentin Pongia, who has died from cancer aged 48.

Pongia played 137 NRL games and 35 tests for the Kiwis, winning the 1994 premiership with the Raiders.

The front-rower also spent time at the Warriors, Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra, as well as playing two seasons in the English Super League with Wigan.

Raiders coach and former teammate Ricky Stuart was among the pay tribute to Pongia, who underwent surgery last November to remove a bowel tumor.

"Like a number of players who played with him, I have nothing but respect and a wonderful friendship with Quentin and although it saddens me of the news, it comforts me to know he has no pain now," Stuart said.

“Quentin is the toughest individual I have ever experienced with and know how hard it is to beat this terrible disease. He will be sorely missed right across the rugby league community. "

The New Zealand Rugby League also honored their forms captain.

"He was an icon of the game, a great bloke and a fearless player," NZRL chief executive Greg Peters told the New Zealand Herald.

"He had a huge identity in the game during his playing career and it was just really tragic to see cancer taking another great way too early."

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