Scottish second row Doddie Weir and South African world champion Joost van der Westhuizen also died of the same illness.
Former England international prop Paul Rendall, who suffered from a neurodegenerative disease, has died aged 69, the England Rugby Federation announced on Tuesday. Rendall had been international 28 times between 1984 and 1991 and participated in two World Cups, the first in Australia and New Zealand (1987) and the next in England (1991). Doctors had diagnosed him last year with motor neurone disease, a degenerative disease leading to progressive paralysis.
Scottish second row Doddie Weir and South African world champion Joost van der Westhuizen also died of the same illness. Several studies have shown that former high-level athletes who have been exposed to brain shocks run a higher risk of developing degenerative diseases than the average population.
Dozens of former British rugby players have launched a collective legal action against World Rugby (the government of world rugby), the RFU (English Federation) and the WRU (Welsh Federation), which they accuse of not having protected them against the recurring injuries that later caused these degenerative diseases. Selected for the first time at 30, Rendall was appreciated by his teammates for his jovial character and his sense of team. “We have lost Paul Rendall (…) This man had serenely taught a young captain the importance of enjoying life“, tweeted Will Carling, his last captain of the XV of the Rose, “he was a master. He was also genuine, kind, loyal and tough. A lovely man“.