Connor Garden-Bachop (file pic). Alamy Stock Photo

Super Rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop dies aged 25

The son of former All Black and Samoa outside-half Stephen had just ended a five-year spell with the Highlanders.

OTAGO HIGHLANDERS back Connor Garden-Bachop has died aged 25 after an unspecified “medical event”, New Zealand Rugby said on Tuesday.

Police said they were called to the scene of a sudden death in Christchurch on Monday evening. It is not being treated as suspicious and will be referred to the coroner.

“Connor passed away on Monday following a medical event and rugby’s collective focus at this time is on supporting his family,” New Zealand Rugby said in a statement.

The son of former All-Black Stephen Bachop, Garden-Bachop played for the Highlanders in this season’s Super Rugby competition. He was the father of twin girls.

Highlanders team-mate Jona Nareki led the tributes to the winger on social media, posting on Instagram: “Rest in peace my brother. Love ya, my boy.”

Garden-Bachop played representative rugby for the Maori All Blacks and comes from a family of New Zealand internationals.

His mother, Susan Garden-Bachop, played for New Zealand’s Black Ferns while his uncle Graeme Bachop also played for the All Blacks.

Garden-Bachop debuted for the Highlanders in 2021, making 30 appearances in Super Rugby.

The club had said he was one of several players not returning next season.

In a recent post on Instagram, Garden-Bachop praised the Dunedin-based team after what he called “an unforgettable five years”.

“Thank you to everyone in the south for making me feel at home, and thank you to the boys I have been honoured to share the field with, it’s been a pleasure, I will miss you all. Till next time.”

Garden-Bachop’s elder brother, Jackson, 29, plays rugby in France with second tier club Brive.

The team expressed their condolences on X, formerly Twitter.

“It is with huge sadness that we have learned of the death of Connor Garden-Bachop… all our thoughts are with his brother Jackson, his family and friends,” read the post.

– © AFP 2024

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