Māori All Black, Blues player mourned, dies at 33

By Will Trafford

Billy Guyton runs the ball during the round one Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Highlanders at Eden Park on February 26, 2016 in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images

The rugby community is in shock after news Blues and Māori All Black player Billy Guyton has died aged 33.

Guyton (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Raukawa) played as a halfback for the Blues, Crusaders, and Hurricanes, and represented the Māori All Blacks, Tasman, and North Otago during his tenure.

Recently, Guyton had been working as an assistant coach for the Tasman women's team in the Farah Palmer Cup.

Tasman Rugby confirmed his death through a social media post, expressing condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

“It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Billy Guyton (a 52-game Mako player, and recent coach of our FPC Mako team),” the union said in a statement.

“Billy was a much-loved member of our whole Tasman Rugby Union team and had a positive impact on those he played alongside and coached. Billy has been a major contributor to the development of women’s rugby across our Tasman region."

The Blues, for whom Guyton played, also shared their shock and expressed their sympathies in a statement.

"We are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Billy Guyton. He was a talented rugby player, who made 24 appearances for the Blues between 2016-2017."

"We cannot imagine the heartache his family and friends must be feeling at this difficult time. To everyone who knew Billy, we send them our sincere sympathy.”

Guyton's provincial career began in North Otago, later moving to Tasman, where he made 52 appearances from 2013 to 2017.

He had brief spells with the Crusaders and the Hurricanes, featuring in one game for each franchise, before finding his stride at the Blues, participating in 24 Super Rugby matches in 2016 and 2017.

In 2016, Guyton was selected to join the Māori All Blacks for their tour of the northern hemisphere. He started in a match against Irish club Munster and made an appearance against English club Harlequins.

Guyton retired in 2018 due to ongoing concussion symptoms.

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