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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 March, 2004, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Newcastle player dies
Newcastle player Soa Otuvaka has died of a brain tumour, aged 25.

The Tongan passed away at a Newcastle hospice on Monday, 12 days before a benefit match to raise funds for his wife Jenny and two children.

"Soa was a wonderful man who loved playing rugby and was deeply committed to Jenny and the children," said Falcons rugby director Rob Andrew.

"He will be greatly missed by everyone at Newcastle," added Andrew, who said the match on 10 April will go ahead.

The fund-raising game will feature England World Cup stars Jonny Wilkinson and Martin Johnson among others.

Wilkinson, recovering from shoulder surgery, and Johnson, who has retired from international rugby, will be joined at the game by England colleague Jason Robinson.

Former All Blacks Zinzan Brooke and Va'aiga Tuigamala and Bradford Bulls' Tongan duo Leslie Vainikolo and Tevita Vaikona, will also take part.

"We hope that the benefit match will help raise moneys to ensure a financially secure future for Jenny and the children," Andrew added.

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