Jarrod Cunningham was a points scoring machine whose career ended prematurely in 2002 when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a form of Motor Neurone Disease.
Cunningham had 1338 first class points to his name for Hawke’s Bay and the Central Vikings when he began his second season with the Hurricanes in 1998. In 1997 he scored 209 season points for the Central Vikings, following up his record 237 season points for Hawke’s Bay in 1994. Not just a goal kicker, he was a regular try scorer too and could play anywhere in the backline, proving himself an invaluable member of any side. Cunningham also made the Blues roster in 1996.
He then made a successful move to the UK, to London Irish. He moved across town to play for Wasps at the start of the 2003 season, but during the first two days of pre-season training for his new club he noticed his field vision, balance and co-ordination were out of kilter, forcing his abrupt retirement from all rugby. Setting up the Jarrod Cunningham SALSA Foundation, he returned to New Zealand in 2004.