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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 09:03 GMT
Tributes to Nick Duncombe
England and Harlequins scrum-half Nick Duncombe has died suddenly at the age of 21.

Send in your tributes to Nick Duncombe. English rugby is in mourning following the sudden death of Nick Duncombe.

The 21-year-old was in Lanzarote for a week's training when he fell ill, and was admitted to hospital.

But Duncombe, who won two caps for England and was considered one of the game's brightest young prospects, died on Friday.

This page is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.

The following message has appeared on the Harlequins web site:

Message from the Duncombe family:

We would like to let you know that we have visited the Stoop Memorial Ground this afternoon (19th February 2003) and would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have sent in floral tributes and messages of condolences to the club in memory of Nick.

We have been truly overwhelmed and touched by what we have seen and read.

We have yet to decide what type of memorial we are going to set up to remember Nick by. However, those of you who wish to send in donations, NEC Harlequins will be collecting money on our behalf and holding on to this until a decision has been reached.

Once again, our sincere thanks for your kind messages and donations.

Steve, Helen, Lucy and Simon Duncombe.

*NB - Anyone who wishes to make a monetary donation, please send in a cheque (made payable to Harlequin FC Ltd., with NICK DUNCOMBE MEMORIAL FUND on the reverse) to the Stoop Memorial Ground at the address below:

Nick Duncombe Memorial Fund
c/o Harlequin Football Club Limited
Stoop Memorial Ground
Langhorn Drive

Duncan Franklin, Harlequins, England

May he always be remembered as someone who proved the sky is your limit while keeping both feet firmly on the ground
Natalie Vale-Smith, England

What a huge loss. He was the most talented scrum-half I had ever seen. I always remember seeing Nick run rings round our team in the Daily Mail Cup at school. He was a true inspiration and will be missed greatly. My thoughts are with Nick and his family at this very difficult time.
Roddy McLauchlan, Scotland

Having the pleasure of knowing Nick I can truly say he was someone I was very proud to know, not only for his achievements in Rugby but for the sheer guts, passion and determination it took for him to get there and for being such a honest and lovely person,.

May he always be remembered as an example of someone who proved the sky is your limit while keeping both feet firmly on the ground!
Natalie Vale-Smith, England

I hope you're teaching rugby to angels. A rugby player always goes to heaven.
Paolo Limauro, Italy

He was and still is an inspiration for his colleagues and friends
David Lloyd, England

As someone that knew Dunco for many years, all I can say is that we've been totally robbed, and why?? Thoughts are with Nick's brother Simon and the rest of his family.
Pete Shaw, Good old England

I used to play school rugby with him when we were seven. He was a great guy and passionate about rugby from an early age. He will be missed.
Pete Bates, England

My deepest condolences go to Nick's family. We have all missed out on a great talent.
Glen Woodmansee, England

Having watched Nick play almost every game through his formative years at RGS High Wycombe including the Daily Mail Cup finals at Twickenham (U15, U18), I have nothing but admiration for him. He was and still is an inspiration for his colleagues and friends.
David Lloyd, England

Nick, you are really missed by everyone who had the fortune and pleasure to know you. Rest in peace.
Michael, England

I was devastated to hear about the sudden death of Nick, what a waste of such a fantastic guy and a promising player. I met him a couple of years ago when we both helped teach PE to kids at a school in Bucks and was struck by his warmth and passion for life.

He will be missed, and my thoughts go to his family and friends at this time.
Sarah S, England

He helped my school out by turning up to the auction my school was holding for the NSPCC
Lucy Smith, England

Rugby never was my forte, but Nick was clearly always going to be at the top of his field. Despite any differences, it was good to share a study with you at Uplyme. He went from RGS to the big time. Now he'll be scoring tries on the big pitch in the sky. RIP NJD.
Alex Horsfall-Turner, England

It happens to the best of them...all my love to his family, I'm sure England will play all the games for him in style, they won't let him down...x
Michelle Enright, England

My deepest sympathies go to Nick's family and friends at this time. The first time I saw him playing sevens I thought 'Here's a player with some class' - and sure enough, he went on to play for England.
Tim Chapman, England

Just want to pass on my deepest sympathies and condolences to Nick Duncombe's family and Harlequins and England team mates as they go through this traumatic time.

He was a kind, genuine, funny and overall nice person. He helped my school out by turning up to the auction my school was holding for the NSPCC and offered a date with him for the highest bidder after one of our 'donors' pulled out at the last minute.

He was truly a great player and will be sorely missed. Let's hope the England players can win the Grand Slam and World Cup, if not for themselves and every supporter of the team but then for the memory of Nick Duncombe.
Lucy Smith, England

I'm sure Nick will be an inspiration to many players present and future
Sharina, England

It was very sad to hear of Nick's death. I hope Harlequins put forward some sort of memorial in his honour.
Tony Payne, England

My sympathies to all who knew Nick. An outstanding player and person.
Rachel, England

I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to Nick's family and friends. I hope that your loss eases with time. I'm sure Nick will be an inspiration to many players present and future.
Sharina, England

A heartfelt thanks to all the rugby supporters throughout the UK, and the world, who have sent their condolences to Nick's family, friends and to the Club. We will pass on all your messages to his family. Nick truly was a Mighty Quin... everyone at Quins will miss him terribly.
SG, Harlequins

Lets go for the Grand Slam in Nick's memory
Falcons Fan, Northumberland
Nic has been a good friend of mine for many years, to us he wasn't an international rugby player but a sound guy who was never without a smile. My thoughts are with his family at this time and his friends in Maidenhead.
Katherine Nisbet, England

A great rugby player and a great man - He will be missed by all Quins and England fans - God bless.
Peter Reynolds, England

Having been two years behind Nick at RGS High Wycombe, I always followed his international progress with great intrigue. Everything indicated that he would have gone on to be England's first choice scrum half for many years. His death has been a tragic shock and I wish to pass my condolences on to all his family and friends at this terrible time. He truly will be greatly missed.
Chris, England

When you lose a friend whether they are close to your heart or not, it is always very hard to recognise your emotions. At the moment I feel empathy, anger and shock. Empathy for the parents and close friends and relatives; anger for when I last saw him I didn't say goodbye and shock, simply because I will never be able to tell him that goodbye.
Lauren Wilkie, England

I wish to send my deepest sympathies to all Nick's family, friends and the whole of the Quins team. He was a bright talent that has been cruelly taken from this world. Rest in Peace Nick.
Jane, England

Rugby lost a great young prospect on Friday and my thoughts go out to Nick's family and friends. Let's go for the Grand Slam in Nick's memory. He will be sorely missed.
Falcons Fan , Northumberland, England

My deepest sympathy goes to Nick Duncombe's family. To lose one so young is very, very hard, but when he is also a rising sports star, it makes it all the more brutal. Please accept my condolences.
Keith Robertson, Scotland

I would like to pass on my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Nick Duncombe on his tragic and untimely death. His death is a tragic loss not only to to his family, but also to rugby in general. May he rest in peace.
Niall Gilmartin, Ireland

All I can say that Nick was a rugby legend and I'm sure he would have gone on to be one of the greats. He was always such a lively character and my thoughts are with his family.

Playing rugby at school with Nick was a privilege and Im sure he will never be forgotten.
Robert, England

My thoughts are with Nick's family at this awful time. I have been very shocked by the news. I met Nick in Limerick last year while he was there training for the Commonwealth Games, a lovely guy and a true gentleman.
Lynda Stapleton, Limerick, Ireland

A great loss. Nick was a bright young player with everything going for him. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.
Kirsty, Surrey, England

Let's hope England can win every single match for Nick in the Six Nations
Ed Bailey, Englishman in Wales

I just wanted to pass my condolence to Nick's family and all his team-mates at Harlequins. It was truly a shock and a hard blow for Quins and England losing such a young and talented player.
Sharon Ajodha, England

To see someone the age of 21 (three years younger than me) who has achieved so much in that time pass away so suddenly is a real wake-up call to me.

I take my hat off to someone who was obviously inspired and dedicated to what he was doing and managed to turn that into real achievements in his sport. Not many people can do that.
Nathan, England, in USA

I know an ex-Harlequins player extremely well. He told me last season that Nick would be one of the best scrum-halves around. I cannot believe what has happened and my heart goes out to all his family and friends at this tragic time.

Let's hope England can win every single match for Nick in the Six Nations and the World Cup. He was a true sportsman and will be sadly missed. RIP.
Ed Bailey, English but in Wales.

I was shocked and saddened to read of the death of Nick Duncombe. The news has hit me as hard as that of September 11. Having been a fellow student at RGS High Wycombe I was following Nick's progress in the sport with interest and anticipation of greatness. I know he will be greatly missed.
James Lewis, England

I was absolutely distraught when I heard about this tragedy. I have seen Nick play sevens and feel it a massive loss to the rugby nation to lose a young player who could have been a long servant and made the No.9 shirt his own.

I have been lucky enough to have played with Nick's brother Simon at Nottingham and can say he possesses such class. All mine and the club's thoughts are with you and your family.
Navdeep Sandhu, England

This is a very severe blow to England and the rugby fraternity at large... my deepest sympathy goes to his family and friends.
Gerald Agoi, United States

A brave and exciting player, more than that, a fine young man taken too soon.
Peter, England

I am so saddened by the sad loss of Nick. As a mother of a 17-year-old rugby hopeful I can understand how proud his parents must be of him. I can only imagine what they must be going through.

Time is not a healer but it does eventually cushion the blow. My thoughts are with all his family and friends.
Sue Stuart-Smith, France

Watching England in the past few years has been an inspiration for me
Amy, Brit in Spain

It is very sad and my deepest sympathy goes to all his family. It is a great shame because he was a great player and a great England prospect. A great player's career cut short, very sad.
George Knight, England

After watching Nick star for the Quins this time last year on a perfect day for rugby at that most social of settings , The Stoop, I find it incredibly sad to hear about Nick's death. He was an inventive and brave player with a huge can live a life in 21 years or exist for many more...Nick lived.
Andy Caulton, America

Our deepest thoughts go out to Nick's family - a promising talent so cruelly taken away.
Dave Thomas, England

For me rugby began late in my life both as player and supporter but watching England in the past few years has been an inspiration for me. To hear of this tragedy of someone who is the same age as me and with such talent is shocking.

Deepest sympathy to family, friends and all those who will miss him from the pitch of English rugby.
Amy, Brit in Spain

Besides the loss of a great rugby player: we feel so sorry for his family, who have lost their son, at such a very young age. We have kids of the same age so our sympathy is with you all at this sad time.
The Browns, England

Condolences to Nick's parents and everyone who knew him
Chris, England

Very sad to hear of the death of such a bright young player. Deepest sympathies to his family, friends and team mates.
Jen, Northern Ireland

A few of my friends used to play with Nick and they said he was a true inspiration and would no doubt one day be a rugby legend. In mine and many people's eyes he already is!

Condolences to his Family at such a terrible time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Laura, England

Condolences to Nick's parents and everyone who knew him. He was an outstanding prospect and I am sure many people will find this hard to deal with. Tragic.

I am just six months younger than Nick and this has shown me how important family and friends are. We must look forward and make the most of our lives, whilst remembering Nick and how lucky we are to be here today.
Chris, England

This terribly sad news has shocked everyone, involved in rugby or not. It is so tragic for such a young life with so much ability and potential to have been stolen from us. May it inspire all to live life to the full each day like Nick did. God Bless him, may he rest in peace in the warmth of God's arms.
John Henry, Ireland

I had the privilege of meeting Nick at the last Quins game
John, England

My lad is 19, I cannot begin to understand how Nick's parents are feeling, and my heart goes out to them.
Dick Gorton, England

I had the privilege of meeting Nick at the last Quins game. Rugby has lost one of its brightest stars for the future. My thoughts are with his family & friends.
John, England

It was sad news to all the fans in the world after reading about this tremendous new about Nick. Nick was a talented young player and had a great future based on his career. May your soul rest in perfect peace Nick, and don't forget we all still love you and will never forget about you.
Daniel Agyepong, Ghana/USA

He was a great person and a great player. He will be missed by his Country and Quins.
Melvin Baldock, England

Let's get the Six Nations with a Grand Slam this year and dedicate it to Nick. My thoughts go out to his family at this hard time.
Jenny, England

He was a fantastic player with a big heart
Kathryn Ross, England

It is a tremendous shock and tragedy to hear of Nick's death. He had great potential for both Quins and England but achieved a great amount at Harlequins. Greatest sympathies go to his family, friends and team mates.
Laura, England

My deepest sympathies go out to Nick's family, friends, and anyone who knew him. A truly bright star of the game, and a future cut short.
Paul Harrison, UK

A shock and a great loss. Nick was a real live wire to watch, and will be missed by all. Thoughts go out to the family and friends.
Toby Locke, England

My heart is with Nick's parents and friends on a sad day. He was a fantastic player with a big heart. He would have been in the England and Quins squads for the next 15 years. If England win the championship let's do it for him, a great player.
Kathryn Ross, England

One of the saddest days in English rugby history. May Nick's spirit and commitment live on in his memory. Three cheers to Nick!!
Jan Scott, England

What an awful shock and a devastating blow. Not just to his family and those who knew him, but also to the rugby world. He will be greatly missed.
Andrew, England

My heart goes out to Nick's family and friends.
Adam, England

Nick will be sadly missed by all fans of rugby, so sad, so very sad. My heart goes out to his parents. Clearly, someone upstairs made a mistake.
Adam Elliott, Thailand

So sad. There is something wrong with rugby now, we are missing something; the missing link, it's the only word to say about Nick. Besides the loss of rugby I feel so sorry for his family, who have lost their son, far too early.

In your memory I will hope that England will start winning Championships. Do not hang with your heads and forget about the sport we all love, I am that Nick want us to continue evolving the sport he loved so much.

I am sure that Nick's spirit will still live and observe the sport. Let Nick's spirit help us in the future; you are not forgotten, and will never be!
Morten Mikkelsen, Denmark

English rugby has lost a fantastic prospect. My heart goes out to Nick's family and friends.
Adam, England

As a loyal fan of the English rugby team I would like to send my deepest sympathy to the Duncombe family on the tragic loss of their talented son. My thoughts and that of other supporters are with you now.

Yesterday's win over France at Twickenham should be dedicated to Nick and his memory. I am sure the spirit of Nick will drive the team onto the grand slam this year. Rest in Peace Nick. Why was he taken so terribly young? He was the same age as me.
Paul Sheehan, Coventry, England

Nick's death is a great loss to Harlequins, England and rugby in general
Carole, England
What tragic news. My heart goes out to Nick's family, friends and colleagues. How desperately sad to lose such a bright young talent - it seems especially cruel after his earlier recovery from serious injury. It must have been very difficult for the England team to focus on yesterday's match.
Linda, UK

As someone who knew Nick, i would just like to say thank you to all the England supporters who, despite not always knowing who he was, respected the silence which meant an afwul lot to me. He was an amazing rugby player and that was what he lived for. Let's win the Six Nations Grand Slam in his memory. Rest in Peace Nick.
Frances, England

Nick was a fine young player, with a great future ahead of him. As a Harlequins season ticket-holder I have seen Nick play several times and he showed great promise. This is a very sad day indeed and Nick's death is a great loss to Harlequins, England and rugby in general.
Carole O'Callaghan, England

It's always an honour to see bright exciting new players. After reading the news yesterday I observed the game rather than watching it. It's just terribly sad.
Ed, Brit in Italy

Links to more Have Your Say stories




England scrum-half dies
15 Feb 03 |  English

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