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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Lions skipper Thompson dies
Former Lions captain Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson went to Rugby League in 1956

Former Lions captain and Ireland second-row Robin Thompson has died.

The 72-year-old Ulsterman, who captained the British & Irish side on the 1955 tour of South Africa, passed away on Thursday morning after a short illness.

Thompson's squad claimed a 2-2 draw in the series against the Springboks after having won the two opening Tests.

The 11-times capped Irish international missed the third Test through injury but returned for the final clash with the South Africans.

A year after the Lions tour, the Queen's University graduate caused a sensation by signing for Rugby League club Warrington.

However his League career proved shortlived because of a bone disease which forced him to give up the game.

In 1970 he suffered the first of a number of heart attacks. But despite suffering from bouts of ill-health during the remainder of his life, he remained one of the great characters of Irish rugby.

In 1982 he completed the Belfast marathon in a time of just over four hours.

Earlier this year he was inducted into the Irish Rugby Writers Hall of Fame.

He played club rugby for Instonians and Queen's and was also a talented track and field athlete and swimmer during his youth.

He is survived by his wife and two children.


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