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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 September, 2003, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Ex-NZ prop Shelford dies
Former New Zealand test prop Adrian Shelford has died aged 39 after suffering a heart attack.

The New Zealand Rugby League said that Shelford, who played eight Tests for his country between 1985 and 1989, died in England on Friday.

Shelford made his Test debut against Papua New Guinea in 1986 and played his last international against Great Britain in 1989.

He also played in the World Cup in 1988 and toured Britain and France in 1985 and 1989. He also toured Australia and Papua New Guinea in 1986 and 1987.

On the field he was ferocious and fearless but off it he was a quiet, absolute gentleman
Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay

New Zealand Rugby League chairman Sel Pearson paid tribute to Shelford's was uncompromising commitment on the field.

"He was a tough man but not a dirty player. He just went out there and played hard and was a real nice guy off the field," said Pearson.

Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay, who signed Shelford from Upper Hutt following a contract wrangle with St Helens in 1987, joined in with the tributes.

Shelford played for Wigan during their glory days in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and appeared in their Challenge Cup-winning sides of 1988, 1989 and 1990.

"He was a big strong forward and a wonderful man who we will miss sadly," said Lindsay.

"On the field he was ferocious and fearless but off it he was a quiet, absolute gentleman.

"When his career finished, he didn't cut and run, he stayed in the town and was set for a brilliant career in education.

He had just gained a promotion and was due to start a new job as a head of IT on Monday."

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