Leinster v Ulster, RaboDirect PRO12 Final
Ulster vow to win for Spence
ESPN Staff
May 23, 2013
Ulster wing Tommy Bowe runs at the Saracens defence. Saracens v Ulster, Heineken Cup, Twickenham, London, England, April 6, 2013
Ulster winger Tommy Bowe and his team-mates will wear shirts bearing the initials of the late Nevin Spence © Getty Images

Ulster winger Tommy Bowe is hoping his side can honour the memory of former team-mate Nevin Spence with victory over Leinster in Saturday night's RaboDirect PRO12 final.

Spence was killed in a slurry tank accident at his family's farm in September last year - a tragedy that also claimed the life of his brother Graham and their father Noel. The death of the 22-year-old centre rocked Irish rugby and united the Ulster squad who will once again wear shirts embroidered with his initials for the showdown with the Irish rivals at the RDS.

"It was such a tragic circumstance," Bowe told the Irish Indepdendent. "I don't think anything really needs to be said about Nevin. I think the players know that he has always been in the back of our minds the whole season.

"His initials are stitched in underneath the Ulster badge on all our jerseys and we have memorials to him in different areas around the training facilities. I think he'll be looking down on us this weekend and it would be a great way to finish off the season with a bit of silverware for him."

Hooker Rory Best has also spoken of the squad's determination to end a season touched by tragedy on an upbeat note. "We have the hunger and belief and we have a couple of big causes why we want to win something this year," said Best.

"We've seen a few tributes online over the last week and it's very much there for us, as it has been all season. Tragedy is never a good thing but it can be something that can spur us on. We have to make sure when we come off the pitch we can say we gave everything and played to the best of our ability. And I believe if we can do that we'll have won the game."

Those sentiments echoed those of team-mate Nick Williams who spoke of his desire to win for Spence having recently collected IRUPA Player of the Season award - the latest honour to be bestowed on him following an outstanding season.

"We all wear Nevin's name in our hearts and on our sleeves," said the No.8. "He's like one of our angel supporters at the moment," says a visibly moved Williams. "It was such a big loss. We haven't wanted to use it or exploit it but it has always been in the back of our minds."

Former Ulster player Nevin Spence tragically died earlier this season © Getty Images
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