1967 Tongan rugby player's death reveals sport talent runs in family blood

A Tongan rugby hero who played for Tonga during 1960s died and his body was laid to rest last week Friday 13.

Kei Siaosi ‘Iongi, 71, of Nukunuku represented Tonga’s national rugby union team  when it played against Fiji in 1967.

His sister Keta ‘Iongi Palu won Tonga two respective gold medals in the South Pacific Games 1969 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and in 1971 in Papeete, Tahiti.

Keta’s son Wycliff Palu plays rugby union for the New South Wales Waratahs.

Kei ‘Iongi was Tongan-Australian netball player Mo’onia Gerrard  and her rugby player brother Mark Gerrards’ uncle. The Gerrards’ mother Kalasi ‘Iongi Gerrard is Kei’s younger sister.

Kei’s son Sioeli ‘Iongi is currently playing rugby union in Japan.

Kei ‘Iongi who played as a winger was remembered by many as a person who had his own style of running with the ball he was outstandingly known and associated with by locals when they talked about rugby in Kei’s time in rugby union field.

He was a retired police inspector and he is survived by his wife and eight children.

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