Māori All Blacks honour teammate Connor Garden-Bachop

The Māori All Blacks say they will carry the memory of former teammate Connor Garden-Bachop throughout the season.

Connor Garden-Bachop died aged 25 on 17 June, due to a medical event.

Coach Ross Filipo says his death marks a huge loss to both Māori and New Zealand rugby.

“There’s a bit of a mourning occurring within the team at the moment and we’re going to go through a bit of a process later today to make sure that we we bring Connor’s memory into the team correctly.”

Filipo said players named in today’s squad to tour Japan were being supported.

“We’ve got a number of players down there who are attending the funeral today. There are number of players in the team that were really close with him. We wanted to make sure that they had the ability to go and say farewell to him and his whanau.”

Garden-Bachop, an outside back, was the son of former All Black Stephen Bachop and former Black Fern Sue Garden-Bachop who died in 2009 after a long battle with cancer. He was also the nephew of former All Black Graeme Bachop.

Filipo was coached by Sue as a youngster and played alongside brother Jackson.

He said Connor remained an integral part of the Māori All Blacks.

“We’ll do our best in our own unique way to honour his memory and support the players who have to deal with that grief.”

Garden-Bachop was farewelled in Christchurch today.

Joe Moody, who has been recalled to the team for the first time in nine years, said it was a sombre feeling in camp.

“Majority of the boys here knew him in some way, he was a really nice guy, a funny rooster, and to not have him in the environment, it’s really sad.”

His death comes just three years after the loss of another young Māori All Black star Sean Wainui.

Connor Garden-Bachop in action against the Waratahs in 2022.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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