Jon Runchel has been described as a "definite leader" and his family have been blown away by the support shown from around the world this week.
The former Maitland, Newcastle and NSW Country prop died on June 5 following a battle with cancer for the last two years. He was 39.
Blacks veteran Dan Runchel, who played alongside Jon for Maitland in the 2010 Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union premier one grand final, looked up to his older brother.
"As a rugby player and a person he [Jon] was pretty similar - very direct, you get what you see and a winner," Dan said. "He was the sort of bloke who was either all in or all out, he didn't want to waste any time. A definite leader with a strong presence."
Having grown up around Maitland and being introduced to the Blacks at a young age via family friends, Jon went onto play 119 games for the club. All-but nine of them were in the first XV.
He represented the Wildfires and the Cockatoos, featuring national championship appearances.
There were also extended stints overseas playing with the Calgary Saints in Canada and the Las Vegas Blackjacks in the US.
More recently Jon took up a coaching role with the colts at Maitland and former squad member Jono Maloney paid tribute.
"Runchy showed all of us that rugby is so much more than the 80 minute game. His devotion to bettering us as people first, above all else, was what set him apart as our mentor," Maloney said.
Dan said it was "much appreciated" and "good to see" former teammates hanging out jerseys and posting photos on social media as a show of support with numbers capped for Saturday's memorial because of coronavirus restrictions.
The service is being held at The Concept gym in Highfields and will be live streamed online via YouTube from 2pm.
Jon is survived by wife Tara and their two children Jane, 7, and Axel, 6.
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