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Rugger stranded chasing a dream

A TONGAN rugby player who chased his dream to play professionally in Europe and was left stranded there with kidney failure got the best gift for Christmas – a second chance at life.

Sione Vaiomounga, a back rower whose rise from sevens rugby in Hong Kong to the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand and later to Oxford in England where he played third division rugby, moved to Romania where he signed his first professional contract.

One day before he was to play for Baia Mare in the 2014 semi-final, his nose started bleeding. He has since survived on dialysis treatment, which hospitals 16769 kilometres back home lack. After his contract ended, he has lived in Baia Mare and survived on the goodwill of its people.

Facing the expiry of his visa and deportation, the Pacific Rugby Rugby Players Welfare heard of his plight and raised his case. Returning to Tonga is a “death sentence.”

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