One of the best Number 8s to ever don a rugby shirt has passed away at the age of 67.
The death of Willie Duggan, capped 41 times for Ireland and a member of the British & Irish Lions squad for their New Zealand tour in 1977, was announced early on Monday morning.
Regarded as a ‘hard man’ in rugby during his playing career, Duggan went down in history books in 1977 becoming the first player to be sent off in a Five Nations (before Italy joined to become the Six Nations).
Speaking in 2011, George Hook named Duggan in his all time greatest Irish Rugby XV.
“If you’re going to pick hard men, the number eight becomes really tough. Smoking, drinking, not training too often – Willie Duggan. Another hard man whom the New Zealanders bowed the knee to. Duggan was magnificent”
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A celebration of Willie’s life will be held at his home in Dunmore on Wednesday 30 August between 4-8pm before requiem mass on Thursday morning at 11am in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny city. Burial to follow at St. Kieran’s Cemetery.