Irish rugby legend Syd Millar dies, aged 89

Syd Millar played for Ballymena, Ulster and Ireland
Syd Millar played for Ballymena, Ulster and Ireland

IRISH and Ulster rugby have paid tribute to a "titan" of the game after the death was announced of Syd Millar at the age of 89.

A legendary figure within the sport, Millar was capped 37 times for Ireland between 1958 and 1970, playing on three Lions tours, later serving as a coach and high profile administrator.

News of his death was announced on Sunday by his club, Ballymena RFC.

IRFU chief executive Kevin Potts described Millar as a "visionary figure" who "helped re-shape the global game."

"Syd Millar was a titan of rugby union, both in Ireland and globally. A talented player who represented Ballymena, Ulster, Ireland, the Barbarians and the British & Irish Lions with distinction, he was a respected coach and manager and in later years was a leading administrative figure who helped reshape the global game.

"Syd was a visionary who helped navigate the testing waters as the game moved from amateurism to professionalism.

"A past president of Ballymena Rugby Club, Ulster Rugby and the IRFU, Syd's influence helped drive the global expansion of the sport.His is a legacy which will endure.

"On behalf of the Irish rugby community I would like to express my sincere condolences to his daughter Lesley, sons Peter and Johnny at this sad time."

Ulster rugby said of Millar, who made his debut for Ireland against France in 1958 that “his contributions and legacy will forever be etched in rugby history”.