All Blacks pay special visit to sick friend
Misiluni Moananu watched the Rugby World Cup final from his hospital bed, eating jelly tip icecream and cheering on the All Blacks.
The Poneke Rugby Club member was ecstatic that his mates Dane Coles, Ma'a Nonu and Victor Vito were able to leave Twickenham as winners.
The day after the final, Moananu, 38, was moved into Mary Potter Hospice. He has been battling bowel cancer since July.
The players he got up to watch paid him a visit on Monday, bringing with them their very special loot: the Webb Ellis Cup.
Moananu's identical twin, Misipalauni, said that, although his brother was not fully conscious, he would have been moved by the visit.
"He would have been humbled, excited, and a bit shy. He is not a guy who likes to be the centre of attention. He would have appreciated it, though."
The trio stayed for about two hours, sharing stories and wishing Moananu well.
Moananu played more than 200 premier games for Poneke, where Coles also played. In recent years he held a range of coaching positions for clubs and schools around the Wellington region.
Older brother Fa'atoto said Moananu got to know Coles through the Poneke club, and knew Nonu and Vito through the Wellington rugby scene.
"We consider those guys good mates. We are a close rugby community. We are all from the eastern suburbs."
Fa'atoto said the support from friends and family since his brother became sick had been overwhelming.
His brother had been very touched to know that, while over in England, the All Blacks were still thinking of him, occasionally sending texts to see how he was.
The latest visit is not the first time the trophy has been taken to places of importance to the players.
One of its first appearances in Wellington was at the graveside of Jerry Collins.
Nigel Cass, of New Zealand Rugby, said the players were supported in taking the cup out and about. "We encourage players to share the cup on short visits with family and friends.
"We expect players to treat the cup with respect at all times and, depending on circumstances, a New Zealand Rugby staff member will also help manage the visit."
All requests had to be approved by a New Zealand Rugby senior manager, he said.
In 2011, the International Rugby Board admitted there were two Webb Ellis cups, both of which had been held aloft by winning Rugby World Cup teams.
New Zealand Rugby confirmed on Monday there was only one cup in New Zealand, the same one that was lifted by Richie McCaw at Twickenham.