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David Duckham dies aged 76: Bill Beaumont, Jason Leonard, Will Carling, Brian Moore and more pay tributes | Rugby Union News

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Former England and British and Irish Lions wing David Duckham passed away on Tuesday, aged 76; Duckham played 36 times for England between 1969 and 1976, and featured for the Lions vs New Zealand on their 1971 tour; Sir Bill Beaumont, Jason Leonard and Will Carling and more pay tribute

Last Updated: 11/01/23 11:10am

Former England and British and Irish Lions player David Duckham died aged 76 on Tuesday

Former England and British and Irish Lions player David Duckham died aged 76 on Tuesday

Sir Bill Beaumont, Jason Leonard and Will Carling are among those to have paid tribute to England rugby great David Duckham, who died aged 76. 

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Duckham won 36 caps from 1969 to 1976, initially as a centre before going on to make his mark as a dynamic wing who brought flair to an otherwise conservative side.

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He retired as the nation’s second all-time highest try-scorer behind Cyril Lowe with 10, a significant feat given England finished bottom of the Five Nations in four of the seven years he played.

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The triumphant 1971 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand provided a better platform to demonstrate his brilliance and he took full advantage, playing in three of the four Tests.

In the midweek game against West Coast/Buller he scored six tries and he finished the tour with 11 touchdowns in 16 appearances.

His mesmerising contribution to the Barbarians’ famous 23-11 victory over the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park in 1973 earned him the nickname ‘Dai’ from Wales fans in appreciation of his swashbuckling style.

World Rugby chairman Beaumont said: “Saddened to hear of David Duckham’s passing. A Lions & England great, he played with flair & was an inspiration to many. A star of that famous Lions series win over NZ in 71. Last saw him at Willie John McBride’s 80th last year. Always good company. Condolences to David’s family.”

Former England prop Leonard said: “So sad to hear the news of the loss of one of England rugby’s finest players & great characters. I spent many an hour with David at events all over the world and it was an absolute joy to be in his company. Thinking of Jean & the family.”

Former England skipper Carling said: “So sad to hear the news about David Duckham. He was one of my rugby heroes, and was also a genuinely lovely man who I was lucky enough to get to know. RIP David, a legend.”

Former England hooker Brian Moore said: “RIP David Duckham – a true gent of a man and one of rugby’s outstanding talents of any era. I will miss you my friend”

Rugby Football Union president Nigel Gillingham said in a statement: “David Duckham was not only one of the greatest and most talented of English players, but also a player so greatly admired around the world. At this saddest of times we offer our condolences to his family.”

His former England and Lions team-mate John Spencer added: “It was an honour to be David’s partner on the pitch. He was one of the greatest ever players with ball in hand and a pivotal part of the Lions success in 1971, the only Lions tour that we ever won in New Zealand.

“He was widely respected by players around the world and was a gentle, kind man, with a great sense of humour. David will be hugely missed by all who knew him.”

The Lions called Duckham “a legend of our sport” and added on Twitter: “He will be greatly missed, all of our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Coventry, the only club Duckham played for during his career, said they were “incredibly sad” to learn of his death.

The club added in a statement: “Donned as arguably the ‘greatest’ ever Coventry player, our thoughts go out to David’s family at this difficult time.

“The club will demonstrate a minute’s silence prior to kick-off at this Saturday’s match against Jersey and will be looking to organise a celebration of life for David, subject to conversations with the family. Rest in peace, David.”

 

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