Open main menu

Nevin Spence (26 April 1990 – 15 September 2012) was a Northern Ireland-born Irish rugby union player for Ulster in the Pro12. He played as a Centre, but could also play Wing. He was educated firstly at Dromore High School, where he was introduced to rugby, and then at Wallace High School.[1] He played his club rugby with Ballynahinch.[2] He was also a capable footballer, playing for the Northern Ireland U-16's.[3]

Nevin Spence
Date of birth(1990-04-26)26 April 1990
Place of birthAnnahilt, Northern Ireland, UK
Date of death15 September 2012(2012-09-15) (aged 22)
Place of deathHillsborough, Northern Ireland, UK
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight95 kg (14 st 13 lb)
SchoolWallace High School, Lisburn
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre, Wing
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
-2012 Ballynahinch ()
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2010–12 Ulster 42 (25)
Correct as of 16 Sep 2012
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Ireland u20
Correct as of 16 September 2012


Club careerEdit

Nevin rose to prominence at Ballynahinch during the hugely successful 2009/10 season. The club won the Ulster Senior League, Cup, AIL Division 2 and All-Ireland Cup all in a single season. Nevin was also a member of the Ulster Rugby Academy. Spence first tasted professional rugby against the Ospreys in April 2010. In the little more than two seasons that he played for Ulster he made 42 appearances, despite suffering a number of shoulder injuries, and scored five tries.[citation needed]

International careerEdit

He made 11 appearances for the Ireland national under-20 rugby union team, scoring four tries, and played twice at the IRB Junior World Championships.[4] After some strong performances for Ulster and two appearances for Ireland Wolfhounds, he was called up to Ireland's senior training squad for the 2011 Six Nations Championship.[5] His talent was recognised by his fellow professionals in 2011 when he was named Young Player of the Year at the IRUPA Players' Awards. In May 2012 he played for Ireland against the Barbarians in a non-capped game played at Gloucester's Kingsholm Stadium.[6]


Spence died, along with his brother Graham and father Noel, in an accident at the family farm in Hillsborough, County Down on 15 September 2012. It was reported that his father, brother, Nevin and his sister were overcome by fumes in a slurry tank at the family farm, possibly while trying to save a dog.[7] Spence's sister was treated in hospital and survived the accident.[8][9]

They were all buried in Inch cemetery, following a joint funeral which was held at the Ballynahinch Baptist Church.[10] As a mark of respect for Spence, a minute's silence was observed at many rugby games in Britain and Ireland the following week.[11] A memorial service was held at Ravenhill Stadium, the home ground of Ulster Rugby, on Sunday 23 September 2012.[12]


  1. ^ The Irish Times Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Squads: Ireland U20". Irish Rugby. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Eleven added to Ireland squad". 8 February 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-06-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Sister of rugby player who died in slurry pit tragedy is released from hospital". Daily Mail. London, UK.
  8. ^ "Ulster star Nevin Spence dies in accident on Co. Down farm". 16 September 2012. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Nevin Spence killed in County Down slurry accident". BBC News. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  10. ^ Funeral of Nevin Spence,; accessed 16 March 2015.
  11. ^ Minute's silence for late rugby star,; accessed 16 March 2015.
  12. ^ Ravenhill memorial for Nevin Spence,; accessed 16 March 2015.

External linksEdit