Wigan boss Matt Peet paid a glowing tribute to the late Inga Tuigamala by saying he encapsulated what a good Wigan team should be like on and off the field.
It was announced on Thursday, February 24 that the legendary centre had died at the age of just 52.
The dual-code Samoa international became a fan’s favourite at Wigan, scoring 62 tries in 102 appearances between 1993-97.
Peet dedicated Wigan’s 22-12 win over Huddersfield on Thursday night to club legend Tuigamala.
Peet said: “We had a good chat about him before the game. Tuigamala encapsulates what a good Wigan team should be. He was a good man on and off the field.
“He was entertaining, he was formidable and he was one of those players you would pay to see. I think tonight’s performance should be dedicated to him.
“The commitment the lads showed to one another was good. It might not have been the most entertaining game, we showed what we were capable of and we tried to be brave with the ball which is what we spoke about in tribute to Va’aiga Tuigamala.”
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Peet is the youngest coach in Super League at 37. He was just a boy when the Cherry and Whites signed Tuigamala, who had represented the All Blacks 19 times in rugby union.
Recalling his memories of the Samoan powerhouse, Peet said: “I remember hearing they had signed him, I would’ve been nine or 10. I remember hearing we had signed a superstar.
“The Wigan team at the time had to get him fit and I think that was through the A team. He was being held back quite a lot so there was a lot of excitement that was built but as soon as you saw him play you couldn’t take your eyes off him.
“He combined that speed and power and he had wonderful handling skills in his carries.
“And he had players around him like (Martin) Offiah, (Jason) Robinson and Henry Paul… You can see why people flocked to the games and got excited. I think it inspired a generation.”