Tom McGurk has paid tribute to Jack Kyle, describing the Irish rugby legend as a "absolute gentleman" and an inspiration in Irish rugby.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away last night aged 88 tributes have been pouring in for a key member of the Ireland team that claimed the country's first-ever Five Nations Grand Slam in 1948.
Belfast-born Kyle won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the Lions and was part of the historic 1948 winning team. In 2002 Kyle was voted Ireland's greatest-ever player, underlining his standing alongside the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Willie John McBride as the country's most-celebrated rugby stars.
Speaking on RTE's Radio One today, rugby broadcaster Tom McGurk praised Kyle for his achievements both on and off the pitch, highlighting his work in Zambia during missions work as a doctor.
"He wasn't only a wonderful rugby player, he was a wonderful person," McGurk told Sean O'Rourke today.
"He spent nearly 40 years working on the missions. He could have stayed behind and earned a tidy sum as he was an excellent doctor and specialist. He devoted a huge part of his life out in Africa to those who needed most."
"He was a quite remarkable person."
Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest rugby players of any generation after success with both Ireland and the Lions, McGurk added that the out-half always had a touch of class to his game.
"If the 10 is the leader of the orchestra, he was the conductor," he enthused.
"When you look back at that old stuff of Kyle, floating, breaking and cutting on the outside, he was fantastic."
Was great to have shared the day with Jack Kyle in Cardiff in 09. A thorough gentleman. Deepest sympathies to his loved ones.— Ronan O Gara (@RonanOGara10) November 28, 2014
RIP Jack Kyle. A terrific player & a proper gentleman.— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) November 28, 2014
We're sorry to hear Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle has passed away. Thoughts with his family and friends— Rugby World (@Rugbyworldmag) November 28, 2014
If you don't follow rugby: Jack Kyle captained the Grand Slam side in 1948, and in 2002 the IRFU named him Ireland's Greatest Ever Player— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) November 28, 2014
Really sorry to hear this “@BBCSPORTNI: Jack Kyle, regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players, has died at the age of 88.”— Michael Corcoran (@MichaelC_RTE) November 28, 2014
RIP Jack Kyle. One of the greatest players to have ever represented Ulster, Ireland and the British Irish Lions. pic.twitter.com/HjUFA5BBjf— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) November 28, 2014
'When the Gods meet the Gods' Jack Kyle RIP pic.twitter.com/tMugjrGvBP— Tom McGurk (@TomMcGurk) November 28, 2014
McGurk added that Kyle led the way for a future crop of outstanding Irish out-halves such as Ollie Campbell, Tony Ward to Johnny Sexton of the present day, describing him as an "inspiration" at out-half.
"He was an absolutely wonderful gentleman."
Sports Minister Michael Ring expressed his sincerest condolences following the sad passing of the Irish rugby legend.
"It was with great sadness that I learned of Jack's passing today. He was an outstanding fly-half, exceptional leader, an icon of the game and above all a true gentlemaN," he said.
“Kyle represented his country on 46 occasions, captained Ireland to our first Grand Slam success in 1948 and led the team to two Triple Crown victories in 1949 and 1951. A former British & Irish Lion, Jack Kyle embodied the spirit of true sportsmanship and how the game of rugby should be played.
“His legacy to Irish rugby will be ever-lasting and he will be truly missed."