Highlanders Connor Garden-Bachop passes away, aged 25

Tue, Jun 18, 2024, 12:07 AM
by AFP

Highlanders outside back Connor Garden-Bachop has died aged 25 after an unspecified "medical event", New Zealand Rugby said Tuesday.

"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.

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Garden-Bachop, the son of former All Black Stephen Bachop, played for the Highlanders in this season's Super Rugby competition. 

The winger, who also played representative rugby for the Maori All Blacks, comes from a family of New Zealand internationals.

"All of rugby walks alongside the Garden-Bachop family at this time and we are collectively united in our grief," the statement continued.

"Connor was a fantastic young player, an exciting New Zealand age-grade representative and a proud Māori All Black. Wherever he played, he was a committed and popular teammate with infectious energy and someone who could light up the room. 

"Most importantly, he was a loving father to his twin girls, a brother, a son and immeasurably loved by all those who knew him." 

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, who was the father of twin girls, made his debut for the Highlanders in 2021, going on to make 30 appearances in Super Rugby.

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

In a recent post on social media platform Instagram, Garden-Bachop praised the Dunedin-based team.

"Thank you @highlandersteam for an unforgettable five years," he wrote.

"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."

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