Ulster Rugby devastated by Spence death

Published Sunday, 16 September 2012
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Ulster Rugby will be a poorer place after the death of Nevin Spence, who died alongside his brother and father in a slurry tank accident, director of rugby David Humphreys has said.

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Mr Humphreys spoke about the talented 22-year-old who lost his life following the incident on the Spence family farm in Hillsborough on Saturday.

He said Ulster Rugby was devastated by the loss, and described Nevin as a "dream player to work with".

When the centre entered Ulster's rugby academy in 2008, Mr Humphreys said he and Gary Longwell discussed the squad's prospects, and believed Nevin would progress to play for Ireland.

"Unfortunately with the events of the last 24 hours it's never going to come to that point," said Mr Humphreys.

When questioned about his own future, the rugby chief said Nevin had a very simple answer.

"He was born in Ulster, he came through school in Ulster. He played rugby for Ulster and all he wanted to do for the remainder of his career was to stay here, win trophies and be successful with Ulster."

Nevin was part of the Ulster squad that reached the Heineken cup final last season, and was a rising star for the side.

Nevin will leave a huge hole in our professional squad. As we move forward over the next decade, I’ve no doubt that Ulster Rugby will be the poorer place without him.

David Humphreys

Mr Humphreys said the Hillsborough man played a central role in Ulster's success in recent years.

"He brought his commitment, his passion, his enthusiasm every time he played," he explained.

"Talking to some of the players over the last 24 hours, Nevin will be missed because on days when nobody else wanted to come and train, he was there, leading from the front."

The former Wallace High School player was last year named Young Player of the Year at the Irish Rugby Union Players' Association Awards.

Shane Logan, Chief Executive of Ulster Rugby, said Nevin was an "exceptional young man...who was killed in his prime aged 22 with an immense future in front of him".

Mr Logan added that the player was "a man of absolute integrity, complete determination, great humility, a fine team player, and an all-round exceptional individual."

He said the rugby family from around the world has sent in messages of support, and his role was to provide help to the Spence family, as well as Ulster players and fans.

Ulster followers have left flowers and scarves at Ravenhill in remembrance of Nevin, and a book of condolence will be opened at the stadium on Monday.

Meanwhile, the President of Ulster GAA has spoken of his shock at the death of Nevin Spence, and of GAA player Brian Óg Maguire, whose funeral was held on Sunday.

"It is another shocking tragedy that comes days after the untimely death of Brian Og Maguire," said Aogan O'Fearghail.

"Over the last week we have seen two young sportsmen, Nevin and Brian Og who were both at the top of their game lose their lives in tragic accidents.

"The wider community will struggle to come to terms with this tragedy and the Spence and Maguire families will be continuously in our thoughts and prayers in the time ahead," he added.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Scott Gamble in Ballymoney wrote (578 days ago):
I am devastated by this saddening news. He will be missed in the squad, as a young rugby player I looked up to him and I aspire to be like him, if I am half the player he was I will be lucky. A few years ago I met him and I had the privilege to talk to him, he was a wonderful person to talk to, he had time for everyone and was so down to earth. I managed to get his autograph and I will cherish it forever. He was an amazing rugby player and he was one of my favourites in the team. R.I.P Nevin, Noel and Graham. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. Scott Gamble, 14
Sandra Burs in Banbridge wrote (578 days ago):
"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." The unthinkable has happened to the Spence family. My thoughts and prayers are with them all as they come to terms at the terrible loss of three much loved men. There will be three empty seats at the table.Sandra
Robin Bredin in Coleraine wrote (578 days ago):
Tragic loss of a talent man for ulster rugby. Also a tragic loss of 2 brothers, and a father.
Aaron Spence in Bryansford wrote (578 days ago):
R.I.P, A rugby legend, Nevin will never be forgoten. Condolences go to Nevin, his dad and his brother.
stephen smith in belfast wrote (578 days ago):
As an ulster rugby fan we have lost a future greatest rugby player to have worn the white shirt.God bless you nevin,take care and watch over the boys on the pitch.........nite nite god bless..........thoughts with your mum sister and family.
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