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Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions great Willie Duggan passes away

The Kilkenny native was capped 41 times by his country before retiring in 1984.

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THE IRISH RUGBY community is today mourning the death of Willie Duggan.

The passing of the popular Kilkenny native, who was 67, was confirmed this morning.

Duggan was capped 41 times by Ireland between 1975 and 1984. The former Leinster number 8 was regarded as one of the best players in the world in his position during his career.

He was subsequently selected in the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour to New Zealand in 1977.

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The Kilkenny People reported that Duggan died of a suspected heart attack this morning at his home in Dunmore, just outside Kilkenny city.

“I knew Willie personally and he was a larger than life character and it’s very difficult news to digest this morning. My thoughts are with his wife Ellen, Willie Jnr, Helena and Monica and his extended family,” said Leinster Rugby CEO Mick Dawson.

“As a rugby player he was tough as nails, a real competitor that represented his club, his country and of course the British & Irish Lions with great distinction.

“In later years he was synonymous with Kilkenny RFC but of course before that he was a Blackrock man. Willie wore every jersey with huge pride.

“Playing for as long as he did with those teams leaves a legacy and his is of a gentleman, a great family man and friend and of a warrior when on the pitch. He’ll be sadly missed but what wonderful memories he has left us with.”

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