The world of rugby has united in paying tribute to Christophe Dominici, the France great who passed away on Tuesday in Paris at the age of 48. French media reports stated that he had climbed on to the roof of an abandoned park building before jumping and falling to his death.

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The winner of 67 caps between 1998 and 2007, Dominici was one of the try-scoring France stars who shocked the world when Les Bleus knocked out the All Blacks at the semi-final stage of the 1999 World Cup, while he was also present when the French eliminated New Zealand eight years later in the quarter-finals.

In a sport where professionalism increasingly put a premium on bigger, heavier players, Dominici’s Test career defied logic as he was only 5ft 8ins and weighed 82kgs. However, he played for France for more than nine years and scored 25 tries.

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His reputation as a much loved, stylish player prompted a huge outpouring of sorrow on social media after news of his untimely passing emerged. World Rugby tweeted: “A legend of @FranceRugby and an all-time great of the game. Rest In Peace, Christophe Dominici.”

The All Blacks also paid their respects: “Small in stature but a titan on the field, Christophe Dominici we will never forget you. Rest In peace, dear friend.”

Dan Carter, the All Blacks out-half at that 2007 World Cup where New Zealand were beaten by the French in Cardiff, added: “The epitome of French flair. RIP Dominici.”

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Dominici first emerged on the scene in France at Toulon but it was at the multi trophy-winning Stade Francais where his reputation as a stylish finisher was sealed. He was recently involved in an attempt by a group of Middle East investors to take over Pro D2 club Beziers, a project that was ultimately unsuccessful.

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