Tributes paid to 'titan of rugby' Dr Syd Millar following Ireland, Ulster and British & Irish Lions legend's death at 89 | The Sun

DR SYD MILLAR CBE has been hailed as a 'titan of rugby' following his sad death at the age of 89.

The former Ireland, Ulster, British & Irish Lions and Ballymena stalwart passed away on Sunday, leaving behind an indelible legacy in the sport.

He made his Ireland debut in 1958 and went on to win 37 caps while he also played on three Lions tours in 1959, 1962 and 1966.

Millar went on to establish his formidability on the other side of the white line for both, coaching his country between 1973 and 1975.

He also served as Ireland manager for the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

Meanwhile, he orchestrated the Lions' undefeated tour of South Africa in 1974, while he was the team's manager in 1980.

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A dedicated servant of Ulster Rugby, he was the province's branch President, IRFU President in 1995, and Chairman of the British & Irish Lions from 1999 to 2002

He was appointed Chairman of World Rugby – then known as the International Rugby Board – in 2003 and served until 2007.

Dr Millar was made a CBE in 2005 having previously been named an MBE, and was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2009, as well as being awarded the Légion d’honneur in December 2007.

IRFU Chief Executive Kevin Potts reacted: "Syd Millar was a titan of rugby union, both in Ireland and globally.

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"A talented player who represented Ballymena, Ulster, Ireland, the Barbarians and the British & Irish Lions with distinction, he was a respected coach and manager, and in latter years was a leading administrative figure who helped reshape the global game.

“Syd was a visionary who helped navigate the testing waters as the game moved from amateurism to professionalism.

“A past President of Ballymena Rugby Club, Ulster Rugby and the IRFU, his influence helped drive the global expansion of the sport.

“His is a legacy which will endure. On behalf of the Irish Rugby community, I would like to express my sincere condolences to his daughter Lesley, and sons Peter and Johnny, at this sad time.”

Ulster Rugby lamented: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Ulster, Ireland, and British & Irish Lions legend, Syd Millar CBE, who was a member of @ballymenarfc.

"His contributions and legacy will forever be etched in rugby history."

The British & Irish Lions added: "There aren’t many people who have given as much to the Lions, or our sport, as the great Syd Millar.

"Three tours as a player, one as a series winning coach and another as a manager.

"He also served as a committee member, selector and chairman.

"It all adds up to an amazing nine tours over six decades. All our thoughts are with his family and friends. He will be greatly missed."

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Ballymena Rugby Club posted: "It is with deep regret that the Board of Directors of Ballymena RFC inform members of the passing of highly esteemed member Syd Millar.

"On behalf of everyone connected with Ballymena RFC we extend our sincere condolences to his daughter Lesley, sons Peter and Johnny and family."

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