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Club Rugby

Round-up: Tributes paid to Nevin Spence after Ulster centre killed in tragic slurry tank accident


The Ulster Rugby chief executive, Shane Logan, has paid tribute to Nevin Spence the promising Irish player who died in an accident on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, tipped for a bright future with the Ireland team, was killed along with his father and brother after falling into a slurry tank at a farm in Hillsborough in the Northern Irish region of County Down. Spence's sister, Emma, is recovering in hospital from the effects of fume inhalation. She and Nevin were reportedly attempting to rescue their brother Graham and father Noel, who had already fallen into the tank.

"Nevin was a wonderful player but also a wonderful person," Logan said. "He was well liked by everyone who knew him and his loss will be deeply felt by his team-mates and everyone at Ulster Rugby."

A tough-tackling centre, Spence was called up for a training squad during last season's Six Nations. He featured for Ireland in a match against the Barbarians in May, and played three times for Ireland Wolfhounds, the country's reserve side. He was a regular in the Ulster team, making 42 appearances in total.

Rory McIlroy, the top-ranked golfer from Northern Ireland, and New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter were among the leading sports figures in to send tributes to Spence. McIlroy said : "Just heard the tragic news of Nevin Spence and his family. Makes you cherish every day you have on this Earth."

Carter's calf strain is still causing him problems but he will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness before New Zealand embark on a two-game road trip to conclude the Rugby Championship.

While four wins out of four have put the world champions on the verge of clinching the title in the inaugural version of the competition, they have a tough finish, playing Argentina on 29 September and South Africa on 6 October – both away. Coach Steve Hansen says that Carter, who missed the All Blacks previous two matches, was still causing some concern.

"The medical staff think he will be [okay], but we'll have to wait and see," Hansen said. "We'll probably make a decision Friday."