Muller pays tribute to Spence
ULSTER CAPTAIN Johann Muller has offered a personal poignant reminder on the way Nevin Spence impacted on the lives on his team-mates.
“On behalf of the entire Ulster rugby squad, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the Spence family at this time.
“Nevin’s loss will be felt deeply by us all. We are equally saddened by the tragic deaths of his father, Noel and his brother, Graham. The thoughts of every member of the squad are with Nevin’s mother Essie, and his sisters Emma and Laura. We would also like to pass on our condolences to Graham’s wife and children. We wish Emma a full and speedy recovery.
“Nevin Spence was a highly skilful and gifted rugby player. He was utterly committed to Ulster and was enormously proud to represent his province. He was determined to be the best that he could be and I have no doubt that he would have gone on to play for Ireland on many occasions. He was the kind of player that inspired others with his attitude in training and sheer will to win in matches.
“His positive outlook on life brought a smile to people’s faces. He was kind, polite, generous and courageous, and we were blessed to have him in our team. The one comfort for us as a squad is that we have each other for support. It has been a difficult time for the players and coaches but I believe that through this tragic loss, we will have a new sense of togetherness.
“I and the rest of the Ulster rugby squad would like to thank the many people who have sent messages of support to the club, not only from within the province, but throughout Ireland, Europe and the world. It is clear from these messages that Nevin was highly regarded by players and fans of many different sports, in many different countries.
“I would like to thank the organising committee of the RaboDirect PRO12 for postponing this weekend’s game with Zebre and for allowing us the space and time to begin to come to terms with Nevin’s loss. In the coming weeks, the Ulster rugby team will return to the pitch. Over the course of the rest of this year and in future seasons we will experience wins and we will no doubt suffer defeats.
“Players will move on or retire and new players will come in and represent the province. But going forward, at Ulster Rugby, one thing will never change. As long as this great club exists, the person and the player, Nevin Spence, will never be forgotten.”
The funeral service for Ulster centre, Spence, his father Noel, and brother, Graham who died in tragic circumstances on the family farm in Hillsborough will take place at Ballynahinch Baptist Church this afternoon (2.0).
A special car park has been set up at Langley Road playing fields close to the church and can be accessed from the Magheraknock Road. The High School, Ballynahinch pitches have also been made available for parking from (11.30am). The Ulster Branch will hold a Service of Remembrance at Ravenhill on Sunday (3.0).
They confirmed in a statement that “all (club) matches for Saturday, September 22nd will proceed with the exception of all matches (youth and adult) involving Ballynahinch RFC which will be rearranged to later dates.
“All clubs are requested to express their sympathies by observing a period of silence prior to all matches on Saturday. The Ulster U-20s, Ulster U-19s, Ulster Schools’ and Ulster Youths’ inter-provincial fixtures due to take place this week will go ahead as planned.”
The first of those representative matches takes place today when Leinster host Ulster in a schools interprovincial at Donnybrook. Their will be a minute’s silence for the Spence family before the match. A Leinster spokesperson confirmed that a book of condolence has been opened in the Leinster store and will also be present at the RDS on Saturday when the province takes on Edinburgh in their RaboDirect Pro12 league match.