David Duckham was born in Coventry, and educated at King Henry VIII School. David Duckham combined grace and power to become one of England’s finest wingers, lighting up an otherwise dismal period for English rugby in which his team were often second best to the magnificent Welsh sides of the 70s.
David Duckham specialised in scoring tries from broken play. The Coventry winger made an instant impact on his international debut, scoring a try against Ireland in 1969. A big, strong man he had the rare ability to side-step and totally wrong-foot opposing defenders.
He was renowned for his outside swerves and inside cuts, which were perfectly exhibited in theBarbarians v All Blacks encounter of 1973; widely regarded as the game of the century.
With the ball in both hands, David Duckham was seen stepping out of tackles before making the ball available to teammates. In this game, Duckham would once again join up with fellowBritish Lions from the successful tour to New Zealand in 1971. Duckham had been an integral part of the tour in which a hard fought series was won 2-1.
Playing alongside such luminaries as JPR Williams, Gareth Edwards and Barry John, Duckham proved his worth.
His tour record makes impressive reading – 11 tries including 6 against a West-Coast Buller Combined side (5 in the first half). These were his finest hours, as he revelled in the competitive nature of the tour and the talented company. Success was never replicated on the home front, although he did captain the Coventry side in its 1972 cup triumph.
David Duckham made his last international appearance against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1976.
For his club, Coventry, he played 12 seasons from 1967 to 1979.
He was capped 36 times for England and was on the winning side on 10 occasions; indicative of the quality of English rugby at the time. However he had earnt the respect of his contemporaries – his autobiography is called Dai for England, a reference to the fact that many Welshmen reckoned he played like a Welshman.
In 1977, David was awarded the MBE for services to rugby
David Duckham is now very popular on the After Dinner Speaking Circuit, speaking at numerous private and corporate events throughout the country.