Ireland legend Willie Duggan, aged 67, passed away earlier today. The Leinster, Ireland and Lions star will be sadly missed by his family, friends and the rugby community.
First capped against England in 1975, Willie Duggan went on to win a total of 41 caps for Ireland in a career that lasted until 1984. He was seen as one of the finest number 8s in the game, playing in all four Tests on the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 1977.
Duggan was a member of the famous 1982 Triple Crown team and captained his country in 1984 before his retirement. A member of Blackrock Colleger RFC and Kilkenny RFC, he will be sadly missed by all in the rugby community.
As in life, so in death – his death notice today reads, ‘Willie would have wanted a party, so, a celebration of his life will take place at his home from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday, please dress colourfully (not in black)’.
IRFU President Philip Orr, a long time team-mate of Duggan, said: “It is with great sadness that I, and indeed the rugby family throughout Ireland and the world, learnt of the death of Willie Duggan. He was a phenomenal rugby ‘man’ and one of the greatest number 8s ever to grace a rugby pitch.
“I had the honour and priviilege of playing alongside Willie for Leinster, Ireland and the Lions – in all jerseys he was a warrior in the finest sense of the word. Always true to his colours, Willie gave 110% on the field, but it was not just in terms of his physical presence, Willie had an extraordinary rugby ‘brain’ and had an uncanny ability to see problems and opportunities on the field well ahead of team-mates and opposition alike.
“Off the field Willie was truly a character, lighting up dressing rooms and after match gatherings with his own colourful, absolutely unique and vibrant wit.
“Willie will be hugely missed. To his wife Ellen, his children Willie junior, Helena and Monica and to his extended family, on behalf of myself, and all involved with Irish Rugby, I extend our deepest sympathies.”
Willie Duggan: March 12, 1950-August 28, 2017. May he rest in peace.