Joeli Vidiri

Preparations in Auckland to farewell Joeli Vidiri

The 49-year-old died last month in the United States, a day after Va'aiga Tuigamala.

Another rugby legend, Sir Michael Jones, is reflecting on the massive loss.

"It is hard to reconcile the fact that they are gone, in some ways we need to just need to pick up and run with their legacy and be the best we can and it is our responsibility to learn from that and pick up our own batons", he said.

The funeral for Joeli Vidiri will take place this Friday at Auckland's Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe.

NZ Rugby salutes Pacific icons who gave their all to rugby

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Mark Robinson acknowledged the heartache of losing both Joeli Vidiri and Fesolai Va’ainga Tuigamala this week.

He says it’s been incredibly difficult with the loss of two men who have such standing in rugby and in their communities.

“Joeli was a pioneer for Fijian rugby and set the platform for the many Fijian stars who have followed him. 

“Together with Jonah Lomu at Counties Manukau they formed one of the most formidable partnerships we’ve seen, and his performances for the Blues helped put Super Rugby on the map.”

All Blacks Sevens champion Joeli Vidiri dies

The Fijian was 48.

Vidiri played international rugby for both Fiji and New Zealand, playing two Tests for the the All Blacks in 1998.

The Blues announced his death on Twitter and said: "G.O.A.T is used frequently these days, more than it should. In the case of Joeli the title truly fits. One of the greatest players of all time.

Vidiri thundered down the sidelines for the Blues in the formative days of Super Rugby in the 1990s - scoring 43 tries in 61 games.