Willie Duggan

William Patrick Duggan (12 March 1950 – 28 August 2017)[1] was an Irish international rugby union player. He won 41 Irish caps, the first in 1975 and finished his international career in 1984 as captain.[2] He toured New Zealand in 1977 with the British and Irish Lions,[2] and at the time played club rugby for Blackrock College RFC, after commencing his career with Sunday's Well RFC in Cork.


On the pitch, Duggan was widely regarded as the premier No. 8 in Europe at the time, which was reflected in his being picked for the Lions in 1977. He was widely regarded as one of the hard men of world rugby at the time, despite not enjoying training and being a heavy smoker. On one occasion he was smoking a cigarette as he ran onto the pitch to play against France, passing the cigarette to referee Allan Hosie, who was pictured holding the cigarette in the television coverage.[3] Told by a coach that if he gave up the smokes he would be faster around the pitch, he replied "but then I would spend most of the match offside".[citation needed]

In January 1977, he became, along with Wales' Geoff Wheel, the first player to be sent off in a Five Nations match.[2][4] According to fellow player Moss Keane, Duggan did not consider himself to have been sent off, simply being asked by the referee "would he mind leaving the field", to which he replied "Sure not at all. I was buggered anyway".[2][5]

Personal lifeEdit

He lived and worked in Kilkenny, where he ran the lighting shop that he took over from his father (Willie Duggan Lighting Ltd.).[6][7] He remained a huge supporter of the game and was one of the most revered and loved rugby players in the history of the Irish game.

On 28 August 2017, Duggan died from an aneurysm at his home in Dunmore, just outside Kilkenny city.[8][9]


  1. ^ https://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2017/0828/900496-ireland-great-willie-duggan-passes-away-aged-67/
  2. ^ a b c d "When Duggan set an unwanted 'Nations' record", Irish Independent, 12 February 2006, retrieved 2010-08-27
  3. ^ Shields, Tom (2003) "Throwing a rugby rule-book at a football fan; SRU president Allan", Sunday Herald, 16 March 2003, retrieved 2010-08-27
  4. ^ Hewett, Chris (2010) "Chris Hewett’s Six Nations A to Z", The Independent, 6 February 2010, retrieved 2010-08-27
  5. ^ "The day Willie Duggan became the first player in Five Nations history to be sent off". Irish Independent. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Lighting: Ireland", The Guardian, 23 February 2008, retrieved 2010-08-27
  7. ^ http://www.williedugganlighting.com (Willie Duggan Lighting - Duggan's family business)
  8. ^ "Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions great Willie Duggan passes away". The 42. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Ireland great Willie Duggan passes away aged 67". RTE Sport. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.

External linksEdit