McCall's father heads to Durban
March 29, 2004

The father of John McCall, who died during Ireland's Under 19 World Cup game with new Zealand, is on his way to the Republic as South African officials try to establish the cause of the 18 year old's death.

The Royal School Armagh player was not involved in any physical contact as he collapsed on the pitch in Durban on Saturday, and after prolonged treatment at the Stadium was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Ian McCall, would not comment before jetting out to Durban, and will have to wait on a post mortem to establish the cause of death.

John had captained his school side to Ulster Schools Cup success on St Patrick's Day and members of the Royal School first XV visited the McCall family over the weekend.

Kenny Hooks, a former test winger and coach of the Armagh side said, "We just cannot understand it. He was a wonderful boy. He was super fit, highly motivated in anything he attempted, be it sport or academics. He was an excellent artist and had been awarded a place at the architecture faculty at Queen's University in Belfast."

As yet the Irish team have not decided whether they will continue in the tournament, with their next game against Japan scheduled for Wednesday.

South African Alan Solomons, who recently stood down as Ulster coach said "John McCall was sensational in that school's final. I decided that he needed to be brought into the senior squad as soon as possible. He was a fine prospect indeed. It is mystifying that such a super athlete can meet such an untimely end. I am absolutely horrified."

In a brief statement on the province's website Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Michael Reid said "Words cannot express the feelings of the people in Ulster Rugby over the tragic death of John McCall. The sympathies of everyone at the Ulster Branch, the players, office staff and administrators are with the McCall family at this time."

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