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Best pays tribute to Nevin Spence
ESPN Staff
September 24, 2012
Ravenhill remembers Nevin Spence, Belfast, September 23, 2012
Ravenhill remembers Nevin Spence © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Rory Best | Nevin Spence
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Teams: Ireland | Ulster

Ulster hooker Rory Best paid an emotional tribute to the late Nevin Spence at Sunday's memorial service at Ravenhill.

More than 5,000 people turned out to honour Nevin following the tragic events of over a week ago. The former Ulster centre died in a slurry pit accident alongside father Noel and brother Graham.

The rugby community has since rallied round the Spence family and grounds across the British & Irish isles marked Nevin's death by singing 'Stand up for the Ulstermen' along with a minute's silence at the weekend.

Best spoke at Nevin's memorial service and said: "His relentless positive attitude displayed during tough times is a testament not only to his upbringing but to the man himself.

"Nevin was a team player - the sort of player that every team needs but few are lucky enough to truly find. Nev has left Ulster Rugby in a much better place than when he found it. As a player, a colleague and as a friend, his memory will continue to shape Ulster Rugby for years to come.

"The mark that 'Nev' left in the squad runs deeper than just rugby. I am going to finish with the fond memories we have of 'Nev' as a person. It was in the physio room that Nev would give the boys tips on their love life. 'It's quite simple', he would say, 'all you need is a girl that looks like Cindy Crawford and is able to calve a cow in the middle of the night'.

"If you ask any of the rugby players for their fondest memories of Nev they will all say, some sarcastically, 'his sense of humour'. Nev would tell a ridiculous joke and would be beaming from ear to ear."

Referring to the loss of the three Spence men, Ulster Rugby chaplain, Reverend Andrew Thompson, added: "We often delight in singing Stand Up For the Ulstermen. Today we come in pain and sorrow to stand up for the proud Ulster man - or rather three."

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