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March 11, 2011, is a date that will stick long in the memory of former All Black Pita Alatini, and not just because it was his birthday and he was in Japan.

Alatini, who played for the Kamaishi Seawaves rugby club, was finishing up a routine medical checkup when a magnitude 9 earthquake struck off the Pacific coast and triggered tsunami that killed over 1,000 people in the small fishing town.

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