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'Kyle's life was about so much more than just rugby'

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Jack Kyle congratulates Brian O'Driscoll after Ireland's 2009 Six Nations win. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Jack Kyle congratulates Brian O'Driscoll after Ireland's 2009 Six Nations win. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Jack Kyle congratulates Brian O'Driscoll after Ireland's 2009 Six Nations win. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Former Ulster and Ireland player Denis McBride had taken in the news not long before he was due to board a flight out of Dublin airport, but still took the time to pause and pay tribute to one of the greatest players the game has produced.

Indeed, Jack Kyle's death has, unsurprisingly, brought warm tributes from everyone involved in the game, even though most would never have seen him play.

"You always heard all about him and you'd seen all the clips and to still be talking about him in such revered terms after 60 or so years really highlights what a remarkable player he was," said McBride.

"It's very sad but his life was so much more than just rugby," the former flanker added.

"One of the things already on my Christmas list this year is the book his daughter has recently brought out about his remarkable achievements in medical care.

"It was a part of his life that is not that well known but is just as remarkable as what he achieved playing rugby."

McBride also said how notable it is that the name 'Jack Kyle' had managed to resonate down through the decades and that the youthful David Humphreys was dubbed 'Jackie' in honour of the great man. Former Ireland captain Paddy Johns recalled a "warm and kind man" when speaking of Kyle.

"He was a great man and his passing is really like the end of an era," said Johns of the legend who played such a central role in Ireland's first Grand Slam.

"His death is a great loss to Ulster and Irish rugby and I extend my deepest sympathy to all his family.

"He was just a lovely, unassuming man but he had done so much that you could probably write a whole newspaper about him. Even though he was quite an age, it still is a bit of shock that he has gone."

Irish Independent