David Duckham Biography

David John Duckham MBE was an English rugby union player. He was born on June 28, 1946, and died on January 9, 2023. From 1969 to 1976, he played in 36 games for England and scored 10 tries. In 1969, Duckham played his first game at center with John Spencer against Ireland.


Early life and education 

Duckham was born on June 28, 1946, in Coventry, which is in the county of Warwickshire. He went to Coundon Infant and Junior School and King Henry VIII Grammar School.

Rugby playing career 


Duckham’s first game for England was against Ireland in 1969. He quickly became one of England’s best centers and played with John Spencer. His game had speed, turns, sidesteps, and the ability to catch his opponents off guard. However, this happened when the English team was having trouble, especially against rivals Wales.

He played wing for his country in the late 1960s and afterward. In 1971, he went to New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions on a successful tour. Coach Carwyn James helped him find a freedom to attack that was missing from the English game. In his 16 games on tour, he scored 11 tries.

At Cardiff Arms Park in 1973, Duckham was the only English back on the Barbarians team that beat the All Blacks 23–11. In the first half, he made a run that has gone down in rugby history and got cheers and gasps from a Welsh crowd that usually didn’t like him. When he broke through the All Black defense, he seemed to confuse the commentator, Cliff Morgan, who didn’t know if Duckham had sidestepped or dummied. He even sent the cameraman in the wrong direction. When he changed direction, the camera moved to the right and Duckham went out of view to the left.

After the game, the Welsh fans gave him the nickname “Dai” because he played like one of them.

Duckham was hurt and couldn’t go to South Africa with the British Lions in 1974.

In his later years, he might have done his best work overseas or for Coventry.
He played against Scotland for the last time at Murrayfield in 1976.

After retirement from rugby

Duckham worked for building societies, banks, and Bloxham School, where he was in charge of marketing.

Duckham wrote a book called Dai for England, which is about his life.

He was 76 years old when he died on January 9, 2023.


He was given the MBE for his work in rugby.

Charitable work 

Duckham was the Honorary President of Wooden Spoon, a rugby charity that helps poor children and young people in Britain and Ireland.