Ex-Wigan Warriors prop Quentin Pongia dies after cancer battle

Quentin Pongia played 30 games for Wigan
Quentin Pongia played 30 games for Wigan

Former Wigan and New Zealand prop Quentin Pongia has died, aged 48.

He had been battling cancer for sometime and underwent surgery last November to remove a tumour in his bowel.

"It's just finally, unfortunately taken him," said NZRL chief executive Greg Peters.

Pongia had a glittering career Down Under with Canberra, Sydney Roosters and the Warriors before arriving at Wigan in 2003.

He formed an awesome, aggressive front-row alongside Craig Smith and Terry Newton, helping the Warriors reach the Grand Final that year under Mike Gregory's watch.

Pongia hung up his boots the following year but stayed in the Wigan area for a spell afterwards before moving back to Australia with his partner.

He worked as a conditioning coach at the Raiders and was most recently welfare officer at Manly.

His former clubs have been quick to pay tribute on social media, and Canberra coach Ricky Stuart described him as the "toughest player I ever played with."