RUGBY players from the New Forest honoured a pro sailor who died in a "tragic" accident.

Lymington Mariners RFC held a home game in memory of Australian sailor and rugby player Zane Gills, who is believed to have died aged 37 aboard a boat in Barcelona.

He lived in Lymington with his wife Sarah and played for the team up until he died, just before the New Year.

Zane had participated in sailing events around the world, including the Volvo Ocean Race.

The team played in black armbands against Millbrook Rugby Club last Saturday after holding a minute's silence alongside Zane's framed shirt, who was player number six.

Vice chairman of Lymington Mariners RFC, Stuart Brotherton, said: "Zane has unfortunately passed away in a tragic accident, but to his team mates will always be a Mariner and will be sorely missed by many.

"The game we had in honour of Zane really was fantastic. We had 34 players turn out which is about double what would normally show up.

"This was made up of many regular players, as well as a few that came out of retirement and hadn't played for the Mariners for anything up to five years. Everyone that turned out to play got on the pitch, even if just for a short stint."

He added: "This is a real testament to the kind of guy that Zane was and what we all thought of him. He really was one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet and was always smiling.

"Like the rest of the Lymington Mariners, he absolutely loved to play rugby and always did so smiling throughout. So this was our aim for Saturday.

"No matter the end result, we were all there to enjoy the game, smile and remember Zano. We had a number six shirt framed which took centre stage for the minute's silence, as well as black armbands worn by all.

"The club has been going from strength to strength recently and this game really was a great display of the level comradery we currently have at the Lymington Mariners."