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Nevin Spence would have loved playing in this Ulster team and we wish he was, says boss McFarland


Nevin Spence

The Ulster squad took a moment yesterday to acknowledge the eight-year anniversary of the tragic death of Nevin Spence.

The former Ulster centre, who lost his life along with father Noel and brother Graham in a farming accident in 2012, is forever remembered around Kingspan Stadium.

However, even in such a big week for the club, it was important to pause and reflect on one of their own who was taken far too soon.

The dressing room may have changed a lot since Spence's days, yet his memory lives on, even through people like head coach Dan McFarland, who didn't even know the hugely popular midfielder.

McFarland's squad have been licking their wounds following their Guinness PRO14 final defeat to Leinster, but with Toulouse lying in wait in a Champions Cup quarter-final on Sunday, Spence's anniversary was a timely reminder to all of the province's current players to appreciate the good times.

"We had a moment today to remember Nevin in the way that the guys want to remember Nevin," McFarland said.

"That's run by the guys who obviously knew Nevin really well. We set aside whatever time that those guys feel is necessary to do that. It is a really poignant moment.

"One of the points the guys made to me as I was chatting to them was that Nevin would have absolutely loved it in this group because of the way they approach the game and their attitude and their bleeding for the jersey.

"I didn't know Nevin on a personal level, but when guys are talking about him like that you obviously really wish that he could have been here to share it with us."

Memories of Spence may be present this week but McFarland won't focus on his anniversary for motivation ahead of this weekend's quarter-final clash in France.

"In terms of using it this week, no, that sits in its own place," the Ulster boss maintained.

"It wouldn't be right to use that.

"It is what it is and it sits in its own place as a part of the history of this club - a very sad part of the history of this club."

Belfast Telegraph