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 Jnr., Helena and Monica and to his extended family on behalf of myself, and all involved with Irish Rugby, I extend our deepest sympathies.