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'I couldn't believe it, I had to take a minute to myself'- Farrell on Inga the Winger

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has paid an emotional tribute to Va'aiga Tuigamala, known as 'Ing...
Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

18.52 25 Feb 2022


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'I couldn't believe it, I had...

'I couldn't believe it, I had to take a minute to myself'- Farrell on Inga the Winger

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Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

18.52 25 Feb 2022


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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has paid an emotional tribute to Va'aiga Tuigamala, known as 'Inga the Winger', after his death.

The former All Black, who Farrell played with at Wigan, died on Thursday at the age of 52.

Speaking ahead of Ireland's Six Nations game against Italy on Sunday, Farrell said he felt privileged to have known him.

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"I was very lucky to be able to spend some time with him.

"When you meet some people and they just touch you straight away from the off - his smile, his generosity, as a person he was outstanding.

"He touched everyone and he was very giving of his knowledge.

"While he was over at Wigan - the amount of people that used to come over and see him, not just family but friends - show what he meant to people.

"When he left Wigan we were all gutted because he added so much to the group.

"That's him as a person and I suppose that's what we'll miss first and foremost."

Inga won two Challenge Cup winners' medals, two Regal 'Trophy winners', medals and a Premiership winners medal in his three seasons with Wigan.

He also helped the club beat Brisbane Broncos in the World Club Challenge.

Farrell said as a player he also had a huge effect upon him.

"From a rugby fan's point of view, he was awesome, I mean I was in awe of him, I was young when I was playing with him, I was in awe of his skill.

"He came over to rugby league and it was daunting for him, he wouldn't have been used to being thrown into the professional game.

"I remember him being thrown into a game playing centre against the legend of Mal Meninga and wow, what a tussle.

"He adapted unbelievably well because of his skill set, he had unbelievable feet for such a big, dynamic, powerful beast of a man.

"I can't say enough about him.

"I was on the training field yesterday and it came up on my watch, I couldn't believe it, I actually couldn't believe it, I had to have a minute to myself.

"My prayers and thoughts are obviously with his nearest and dearest, very sad news for everyone."

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