|Former Lion, Van Der Merwe, Passes Away|
The Wellington Rugby Football Union formally expresses their condolences at the loss of former Wellington Lions representative, Morne van der Merwe, who passed away in Cape Town last week.
On behalf of the Union, CEO James Te Puni had this to say:
"It is an extremely sad loss. Morne was an important and popular member of the successful Championship winning Wellington Lions in 2000."
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Morne's family and loved ones in South Africa. I know those who played alongside Morne and had the opportunity to work with him, will be very saddened by this loss. We are grateful for the significant contribution he made to rugby in Wellington and particularly towards winning the 2000 title. Morne will be fondly remembered by many but particularly by all members of the Wellington Rugby family."
Morne's coach at the time in Wellington, Dave Rennie had this to say to The Dominion Post after his passing. "It's just devastating, really. He was a quietly spoken beast of a man.
"An incredibly explosive and dynamic player, but a real gentleman off the field. He loved his guitar and he was pretty impressive on that.
"He was a big player in regards to our success that year and we didn't have the same power after he went back to South Africa.
"He was a big man, a typical South African frontrower with a barrel of a chest, but he was really explosive.
"He was as explosive as someone like Sona Taumalolo, highly skilled and coming out of Africa well versed in the art of scrummaging."
Pictured below: Morne van der Merwe (standing between Paul Steinmetz and Jonah Lomu) and his teammates in Wellington's Civic Square after winning the Championship Title in 2000.