David Duckham

David Duckham
David Duckham
Personal information
Full name David John Duckham MBE
Date of birth 28 June 1946 (1946-06-28) (age 65)
Place of birth Coventry, England
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 93 kg (14 st 9 lb)
Nickname(s) Dai
Senior clubs*
Years Club Apps (points)
1967-1979 Coventry, 188 (88)
Representative teams
British and Irish Lions
42 (10)
3 (0)

* Professional club appearances and points
counted for domestic first grade only.

David John Duckham MBE (born 28 June 1946)[1] is a retired English rugby union player. He played 36 games for England from 1969 to 1976 and scored 10 tries. Duckham made his debut at centre, partnering John Spencer against Ireland in 1969. They were believed by many to be England's greatest centre pairing until Will Carling and Jeremy Guscott.



Born in Coventry, Warwickshire, and educated at King Henry VIII Grammar School,[2] Duckham made his debut against Ireland and quickly established himself as one of England's best centres, playing alongside John Spencer. His game was marked by pace, swerves, sidesteps and an ability to wrong-foot his opponents, although this came at a time when the English team were struggling, especially against rivals Wales. In the late 1960s and thereafter he was played on the wing for his country and in 1971 was part of the successful British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.[3] Encouraged by coach Carwyn James, he found an attacking freedom that was lacking in the English game. He scored 11 tries in his 16 games on tour.[4]

He was the only English back in the 1973 Barbarians side that beat the All Blacks 23-11 at Cardiff Arms Park. In the first half he made a run that has become part of rugby lore, that brought gasps and cheers from a Welsh crowd more accustomed to regarding him with hostility. When he broke through the All Black defence, he appeared to confuse the commentator, Cliff Morgan, who did not know whether Duckham had sidestepped or dummied. He even sent the cameraman the wrong way; his change of direction was such that the camera went to the right and Duckham disappeared out of shot to the left. After the match he was given the nickname 'Dai' by the Welsh fans because he played like one of their own. Arguably his best performances in later years were overseas or for Coventry.[citation needed] He made his last appearance against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1976.

For his club, Coventry, he played 12 seasons from 1967 to 1979.

After Retirement

For his services to rugby David was awarded the MBE. He has also written an autobiography called Dai for England.

Charitable work

He is an Honorary President of the rugby charity Wooden Spoon improving the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in Britain and Ireland.


  1. ^ Griffiths, John (1987). The Phoenix Book of International Rugby Records. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. pp. 12:5. ISBN 0-460-07003-7. 
  2. ^ http://www.gordonpoole.com/?artistID=930
  3. ^ http://www.lionsrugby.com/history/davidduckham.php
  4. ^ "11: David Duckham". BBC News. 13 January 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/international/3392291.stm. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 

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