A 29-year-old Vancouver rugby player has died after a tragic accident.
Dan Wigley, who has represented BC rugby and played for the Vancouver Meraloma Rugby Club, died Tuesday in hospital from injuries sustained by an accidental fall.
Tribute has poured in from teammates, friends and loved ones in Canada and his home country Wales.
“He’s just the nicest guy you can hope to meet,” Jebb Sinclair, president of Meralomas, said Friday, describing the second-row player as loyal, funny and a first-class friend. “He was an absolutely fantastic guy. Everyone is going to miss him and we all loved him. ”
Wigley moved to Canada from the UK a few years ago and has been with Meralomas for about three years.
“He came here to play rugby, get a little change of scenery,” Sinclair said. “He loved it so much he got (permanent residence permit) and should stay here for the foreseeable future.”
A GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to repatriate him to Wales has raised more than $ 100,000 (£ 57,500 pounds).
The organizers described Wigley as a “friendly, funny, gentle giant.”
BC Rugby remembered him as a “talented athlete, dedicated teammate and a true friend”, while Rugby Canada said Wigley’s death was a “great loss to our rugby community.”
Wigley represented the BC Bears All Stars against Canada’s national team in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Wigley’s former team, Llandybie Rugby Club, issued a statement published by British media.
“He was the most wonderful, modest, polite young man you could ever wish to meet,” said club secretary Stuart Griffith. “On the pitch he was a massive presence and a great rugby player, and as a club we were all so proud of him when he represented the British Columbia team to play the Canadian national team before the last Rugby World Cup.”