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Ex-Ulster and Ireland rugby hero John Hewitt dies aged 90

‘Legend’: John Hewitt
‘Legend’: John Hewitt

By David Young

Instonians Rugby club last night paid tribute to club member and former Ireland international John Hewitt, who has died at the age of 90.

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Capped four times, Hewitt made his international debut against England at Twickenham in the 1954 Five Nations, playing his final Test in 1961 against South Africa in Cape Town.

He played for his school Inst in their successful 1944-45 Schools' Cup winning team.

On their website, Instonians RFC described their former player as "a legend".

"It is with great sadness that we advise of the death earlier this week of John Hewitt," the club said.

"The word legend is often used in these occasions; in this case it barely describes what John Hewitt was.

"A magnificent out-half, whose playing days coincided with his arch rival Jack Kyle.

"John played for Instonians, Ulster and Ireland. He was involved in probably one of the most successful rugby eras for Instonians, Ulster and Ireland.

"After his playing days were over, he continued to help rugby in the administration roles: selector for Instonians, Ulster and Ireland, tour manager of Instonians tour to Australia, club treasurer, president of Instonians and president of the Ulster branch.

"While his health allowed, he was a constant presence at Instonians.

"He will be greatly missed.

"Instonians send their heartfelt condolences to John's family, daughter Gillian, son Michael, son-in-law Trevor, daughter-in-law Ruth and grandchildren Andrew, Joanne, Patrick, Michael and Andrew."

Mr Hewitt's life will be celebrated at a thanksgiving service to be held tomorrow at McCracken Memorial Church on Belfast's Malone Road.

A notice placed by his family read: "Forever in our hearts."

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Alzheimer's Society, 30 Skegoneill Street, Belfast.

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