Well-respected Kiwi rugby coach Geoff Moon dies unexpectedly in Italy, aged 53

The New Zealand rugby community, particularly Auckland, is in mourning after the sudden death of coach Geoff Moon.

Moon, who was an assistant coach for Auckland recently, had been in Italy for a brief coaching assignment with the Viadana Rugby Club at the request of friends when he fell ill.

Italian media report the 53-year-old passed away in Parma after he was hospitalised due to the illness.

Viadana said Moon's death was "a loss to the whole world of rugby".

The sentiment has been matched closer to home, with Auckland Rugby and the Blues paying tribute to Moon this morning.

"Coach. Mentor. Colleague. Friend," the Blues wrote on social media.

"Sending love to the Moon whanau at this tough time."

Former All Black Jerome Kaino was the first player to extend his sympathies, saying today was a "sad day".

"The Godfather for us South Auckland boys growing up, thank you for everything my uso!

"Gone too soon my brother."

Moon was a well-respected figure in the New Zealand secondary schools rugby scene, coaching at Aorere College and De La Salle College before making his mark with Mt Albert Grammar School.

Moon head coached the MAGS First XV to an Auckland and national title before his team finished second at the World Rugby youth tournament in Japan in 2017.

He also coached Auckland as an assistant in 2016 and 2017.

Mt Albert Grammar coach Geoff Moon during a match against St Kents.
Mt Albert Grammar College v St Kentigern College, Mt Albert College, Auckland, New Zealand. 05 May 2018. © Copyright Image: Marc Shannon /
Mt Albert Grammar coach Geoff Moon during a 2018 match against St Kents. Source: Photosport

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