RUGBY has and will continue to pay its respects this weekend to young Ulster star, Nevin Spence.
The 22-year-old Ireland ‘A’ international and former Wallace High and Dromore High School player, died tragically alongside his father, Noel (58) and brother Graham (30) in a horrific accident at their home farm at Drumlough near Hillsborough.
The three men were buried on Wednesday following a funeral service at Ballynahinch Baptist Church.
Ulster Rugby are holding a memorial service at Ravenhill on Sunday afternoon (3pm) to celebrate the life and sporting career of one of Ulster’s most talented and committed players.
The religious service will be led by Ulster chaplain, Rev Andrew Thompson, while members of the Ulster squad will take part.
Ulster’s away match against Zebre in the PRO12 was postponed on Friday night as a mark of respect - but Ulster will travel to Cardiff to play the Blues on Friday, September 28.
A minute’s silence was observed at both PRO12 games on Friday night at Swansea and Glasgow, where home fans also chanted ‘Stand Up For The Ulstermen’. Those scenes are to be repeated at Saturday night’s three PRO12 games in Dublin, Limerick and Cardiff.
Fans at the six English Aviva Premiership matches this weekend will also pay their tributes to the Spence family.
Reflecting how the ‘rugby family’ was uniting, director of Premiership Rugby, Phil Winstanley said: “After the devastating events of last weekend, it is entirely appropriate that the whole of the rugby world remembers Nevin and his family this weekend.
“In times like these rugby as a sport pulls together and Premiership Rugby and all the Aviva Premiership Clubs want to remember Nevin and show support for his family and for Ulster Rugby at this extremely difficult time.”
Across Ireland today at all domestic club games, flags will be flown at half mast and grounds will fall silent as players, officials and supporters pay their respects.
Ballynahinch Rugby Club, where Nevin and Graham were members, have postponed all their games, and the clubhouse will remain open until 2pm to allow people to sign a book of condolence.