David Duckham England Rugby


We were saddened to hear the news recently that the great David Duckham MBE had died at the age of 76.

David Duckham England Rugby – Dai for England Book Preview

David Duckham’s autobiography was first published in 1980 by Pelham Books. He will best be remembered for his exploits with England and Coventry. Also, both of which saw him earn several British and Irish Lions caps. A centre and winger. Duckham’s 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. A figure exuding flair and charisma which shone through during his performances on the pitch.

Benchmark for England Rugby Players

‘Dai’ as he was affectionately known is somewhat of a benchmark for England players. As he showcased the ability to play with freedom and panache. Adding a flamboyance to the England team. An incredibly well-respected player.

David Duckham England Rugby Debut

He made his debut for Coventry in 1967. It did not take long for David to establish himself and make an immediate impact. An international call-up followed just two years later as he made his debut against Ireland in 1969. And quickly established himself as one of England’s best centres, playing alongside John Spencer. A formidable partnership that enjoyed tremendous success.

British Lions Success

In the late 1960s and thereafter David Duckham was played on the wing for his country mainly due to his blistering pace. And in 1971 was part of the successful British and Irish Lion’s tour to New Zealand. Encouraged by coach Carwyn James. He found an attacking freedom that was lacking in the English game. And resulted in him scoring 11 tries in just 16 games on tour.

David Duckham England Rugby Barbarian RFC

The only English back in the 1973 Barbarians side that beat the All Blacks 23–11 at Cardiff Arms Park. Duckham’s exuberance and brilliance as a player made him the idyllic player in Barbarian showcase games. In the first half of the match, Duckham made a run that has become part of rugby folklore. That brought gasps and cheers from a Welsh crowd more accustomed to regarding him with hostility.

Barbarians RFC v All Blacks 1973

Firstly, he broke through the All Black defence. Secondly, he appeared to confuse the commentator, Cliff Morgan. Who did not know whether Duckham had sidestepped or dummied. Thirdly, even sent the cameraman the wrong way. Finally, a change of direction was such that the camera went to the right and Duckham disappeared out of shot to the left. In addition, this showing of utter brilliance and genius is still reminisced upon by many.

Arguably his best performances in the latter years of his career were overseas. Or for Coventry as he made his last International appearance against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1976.

Where to buy?

The Dai for England Book is pretty rare now having been published in 1980. Also, it can be purchased from Amazon HERE. In addition, Abe Books HERE.  Also, we offer some classic England Rugby 1991 Shirt 1992 Grand Slam HERE. Or, take a look at our full Retro England Rugby Range HERE.