Wigan Warriors legend Inga Tuigamala dies, aged 52

Inga Tuigamala Wigan
Inga Tuigamala in action for Wigan in 1996

Tributes have poured in for Wigan Warriors’ legendary centre Inga Tuigamala, who has died at the age of just 52.

The dual-code Samoa international became a fan’s favourite on the terraces of Central Park when he joined Wigan in 1993.

Tuigamala enjoyed five seasons with the Cherry and Whites, scoring 254 points in 102 appearances.

The Samoan won a Premiership, two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge with the club. He was also named in the 1996 Super League Dream Team.

Tuigamala represented his native Samoa in the 1995 Rugby League World Cup and in the 1999 Rugby Union World Cup. He played for New Zealand in the 1991 Rugby Union World Cup.

Tuigamala won 19 caps for the All Blacks in rugby union and 23 for Samoa. He won two caps for Samoa in rugby league.

The powerhouse centre enjoyed plenty of success in both codes. In rugby union, he made 126 appearances for Wasps and Newcastle Falcons, scoring 180 points.

Tributes pour in for Inga Tuigamala

Jason Robinson, Tuigamala’s team-mate at Wigan, tweeted: “Absolutely heartbroken. I owe so much to this amazing man. He literally helped change my life when he came to Wigan Warriors from NZ. Sending all my love and condolences to the family at such a sad time. RIP brother.”

Apollo Perelini, who played alongside Tuigamala for Samoa RL, tweeted: “Saddest news to hear. We started primary school together and took our rugby journey to the UK – Saints for me and Wigan for you my brother. RIP my dearest brother, Inga (the winger) Tuigamala.”

Wigan executive director Kris Radlinski said: “Every now and then a player comes along who touches the heart and soul of every single fan, player, coach and administrator – Inga was one of them.

“He was one of the most exciting rugby players to play either code. His presence on the rugby field was huge. As a teenager, he gave me the most precious thing that anyone could, time. We would spend hours on the field doing one on one’s together. It is a very sad day for the club. Rest in peace my friend.”

Tuigamala was born in Faleasiu, Samoa and died in Auckland, New Zealand.

Nicknamed Inga the Winga, Tuigamala will be forever remembered as one of the greatest overseas players ever to grace the soil of British rugby league.

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About Drew Darbyshire 8298 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

21 Comments

    • R I P My big man tig. Sending Daphne and all your family my Love 💓 memories of you all when you lived in Wylam. ENGLAND FROM YOUR LIÞLE FLORIST .Julie xxx

  1. I received a call from Inga just a few weeks before Christmas to say hi and give his wishes at that time. Inga was in good spirit and couldn’t wait till we caught up again like just 3-years ago in Sydney. The signing of Inga at Wigan in my time there was a huge coup for the Club, the Team and Staff as Inga was such a genteel man blessed with great gifts of love and care for his fellow humans and team mates. Inga, you will be sadly missed my friend, love n hugs big fellla, till we meet again RIP, Coach

  2. i remember this man with fond memories.. when my son was about 6 he was mascot for leigh rugby league in their home match with wigan.After the game we were in the bar and my son went over to jason robinson and asked him to sign his programme… robinson just looked down at him and walked off yo chat to another player.. inga had been watching , walked over to my son, picked him up, ruffled his hair and sugned the programme and then went off, took jason to one side and when he had finished talking to him jason came over made a fuss of my son and went and got him a signed photograph of himself and signed his programme.. that was imga.. a class act

  3. Fabulous human being, remember him stopping for a chat when i was walking through Wigan Town centre, very easy to talk to with no air’s and graces RIP

  4. I’m so sad to hear this news about Ingas passing away. He was a tremendous player and such a wonderful person. RIP 🙏🏻Inga. ❤️❤️❤️

  5. As a saints fan Inga was a thorn in our side but you always admire deep down a brilliant exponent of the game even thogh they are going to be instrumental in beating you and wishing they were in your side instead. Inga was such a player. RIP RL legend

  6. Great to watch him play even against your own team that you were supporting.
    Truly a “Great Player and Man to Admire”.
    From a London Broncos fan.

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