David Duckham

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David Duckham
David Duckham c1974.jpg
Birth name David John Duckham MBE
Date of birth (1946-06-28) 28 June 1946 (age 72)
Place of birth Coventry, Warwickshire, England, UK
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 14 st 9 lb (93 kg)
Rugby union career
Position(s) wing
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1967–1979 Coventry, 188 (88)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
British and Irish Lions

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.


Born in Coventry, Warwickshire, and educated at Coundon Infant and Junior School and King Henry VIII Grammar School,[2] Duckham made his debut against Ireland in 1969 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[edit]

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

Charitable work[edit]

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. ^ The UK's Longest Established Talent Agency & Speaker Bureau. Gordonpoole.com. Retrieved on 2016-07-12.
  3. ^ David Duckham. lionsrugby.com
  4. ^ "11: David Duckham". BBC News. 13 January 2004. Retrieved 1 May 2010.