The Malta Rugby Football Union is still coming to terms with the sudden death of former Malta international player Leo Mifsud.
The 50-year-old passed away last weekend and tributes have been flowing ever since for the former Falcons player.
Members of Kavallieri Rugby Club described him as a "true gentleman on and off the pitch".
His contribution to the game of rugby in Malta was huge. In fact, he was part of the first rugby club established in Malta, Phoenicians RFC, who in season 1984-85 made their first tour abroad when they played in Bel Passo, Sicily.
Mifsud also played in the first international rugby game when they faced Tripoli Barbarians in Libya.
“No written words can express the impact Leo had on people,” Malta coach Damian Neill told the Times of Malta.
“Having known Leo for almost 15 years as a player and as a person. His passing has shocked and hit us all hard. Leo just loved to play with ball in hand and a smile on his face, a prop with a side step.
“Leo shone sportsmanship at its best and a shining example to all. He had this natural happy presence and a wicked laugh, you just felt good to be around him and Leo always met you with a big smile and a handshake.
“I am truly blessed to know such a gentleman and will miss him, greatly.”
He formed part of the Malta national team that made its international debut way back in 2000 against Moldova.
Since then, Mifsud was ever present in the national team before retiring from the game in 2007.
Robert Portelli, one of the founding members of Falcons RFC, paid tribute to Mifsud.
“A gentleman that could only offer a genuine friendship” was how Portelli described Mifsud in his facebook post.
“You were there at the start of the Falcons project,” Portelli continued.
“When you could play with whichever team you wanted, you chose to play with the club that was the most weak, where you were aware that you were gonna suffer huge defeats. Because you were a man of principle that you always keep your word, even after several years passed, because you were always ready to help others without any compromises, because you were afraid of no opponent.”
On his part, Kevin Buttigieg, president of the MRFU said, that the governing body had lost a real gentleman.
“Malta rugby has lost a real gentleman,” Buttigieg said.
“Leo was alway that guy who puts a smile on your face. He was a solid player on the pitch and a gentle giant off the pitch. Leo was in the first ever international team that played for Malta against Moldova. Leo will be missed by many a true gentleman has left us.”
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