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Former Cambridge University RUFC captain Nick Koster dies at 34





Tributes have been paid to former Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club captain and co-chair Nick Koster, who has died at the age of 34.

The South African, who credited Cambridge University RUFC for reigniting a love for the sport, died on July 12.

Nick Koster was the captain of Cambridge University Rugby Football Club in 2018 when he took part in the Varsity Match. He has died at the age of 34 Picture: Keith Heppell
Nick Koster was the captain of Cambridge University Rugby Football Club in 2018 when he took part in the Varsity Match. He has died at the age of 34 Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge University RUFC head coach James Shanahan said Nick was “loved massively” and his death is an “absolutely huge loss” not just for the club, but the wider rugby community.

Paying tribute, James, who said he was still numb from the news, added: “He became captain in 2018 and I’ve never seen an individual lead a team as well as him, on and off the pitch. It was a very young side, a very inexperienced side, and he got the best out of them. And even though we didn’t win the Varsity Match that year, I thought he was phenomenal throughout the year.

“On the field in the Varsity Match, I don’t think I’ve seen a better individual performance from a rugby player ever. He was battered, he was bruised and bloody, but he had a massive smile on his face even though the result hadn’t gone our way.”

A statement released by the club said: “Nick’s passion and leadership were a huge force for positive change at the club. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with Nick’s family, his wife Jeannie and their two children.”

Father-of-two Nick earned two Blues during his time with the club and captained Cambridge in 2018. He was later named co-chair alongside Jess Tayenjam in 2021.

Nick attended Bishops College in Cape Town and played in their First XV rugby team in 2006 and 2007 before his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers in 2009.

It was announced that he would join Bath in October 2012 and then RFU Championship club Bristol on a season-long loan from August 2013, which later became permanent. He was part of the Bristol team to earn promotion to the Aviva Premiership in 2016 – and was described by the club as “hugely popular”.

He played 62 times for the club between 2013 and 2017, and was shortlisted for Community Player of the Season for his incredible work with the club’s Community Foundation.

The club said gave up “hours” of his own time to a number of programmes and initiatives with young people in the city.

The cause of Nick’s death is not known.



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