Community shocked by Spence tragedy

PA Sport
Flowers are laid at Ravenhill Ground in memory of Nevin Spence, who died on Saturday

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Flowers are laid at Ravenhill Ground in memory of Nevin Spence, who died on Saturday

The Irish rugby union community was unified in mourning over the weekend following the death of Ulster centre Nevin Spence.

Spence, 22, was killed alongside his brother Graham and father Noel in an incident which is believed to have unfolded as the trio attempted to come to each other's aid after falling into a slurry tank at their farm in Hillsborough.

Investigators are still examining the circumstances of the incident in County Down but it is known emergency services went to the farm in Drumlough Road shortly after 6pm on Saturday.

Spence was considered one of the up-and-coming stars of the Ulster scene and was tipped as a future Ireland star.

Brian O'Driscoll took to Twitter to post his condolences, writing: "Devastating news about Nevin Spence, his dad & brother. What a wonderful talent he was. Thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends."

One of Ulster's most famous former players David Humphreys, now the club's director of professional rugby, said he was overwhelmed by the loss of a man he had watched rise through the ranks.

"You just need to listen to some of the conversations with our players over the last 24 hours," he said. "All of us are struggling to come to terms with what has happened.

"On days when nobody else wanted to come in and train, he was there leading from the front. All he wanted to do for the remainder of his career was to stay here, win trophies and be successful for Ulster."

Shane Logan, chief executive of Ulster Rugby, added: "(He was) a man who was killed in his prime aged 22 with an immense future in front of him and we know that because in his 22 years he was a model professional and a model individual.

"A man of absolute integrity, complete determination, great humility, a fine team player and an all-round exceptional individual."

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