Thursday 22 March 2018

Ireland rugby legend Willie Duggan passes away, aged 67

Willie Duggan in action for Ireland in 1984
Willie Duggan in action for Ireland in 1984

Former Ireland international Willie Duggan has died at the age of 67.

Duggan was widely regarded as one of Ireland's best players, making 41 appearances between 1975 and 1984.

He toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 1977, playing in all four Tests as the All Blacks won the series 3-1.

He died following a suspected heart attack on Monday morning.

Irish Rugby wrote on Twitter: "Sad news today that Ireland legend Willie Duggan has passed away. Our thoughts & prayers are with his family & friends. May he rest in peace."

Leinster Rugby, his former province, wrote on Twitter: "Very sad news from Kilkenny this morning of the passing of Leinster & Ireland Rugby legend Willie Duggan. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam. #RIP."

Duggan latterly ran Willie Duggan Lighting Ltd, based in Kilkenny.

He was, along with Wales' Geoff Wheel, the first player to be sent off in a Five Nations match in 1977.

Both men were sent off by referee Norman Sanson for fighting following a lineout during the game at Cardiff Arms Park.

Wheel recalled some time later in The Independent: "I wasn't involved with Willie Duggan at all. I didn't even see what he was supposed to have done. We even had a bit of a laugh about it on the sideline.

"We definitely got the best of it. He was having a really good game at the back of the line-out. Willie was a great character and an exceptionally good player.

"I don't know what he got sent off for but they ended up losing their best player and we won the game easily enough."

Press Association

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