Former Ireland international Ray McLoughlin has died aged 82, the Irish Rugby Football Union announced Monday.
An outstanding tighthead prop, McLoughlin played a then record 40 times for Ireland over a period of 14 seasons, from 1962 to 1975, captaining the side on eight occasions, and was also a two-time British and Irish Lions tourist
“A true great of the game has passed. Ray McLoughlin was a @connachtrugby @IrishRugby & @lionsofficial legend,” said a post on the IRFU’s twitter page. “A captain, a leader, a gentleman. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.”
McLoughlin played in three Tests during the Lions’ 1966 tour of Australia and New Zealand.
He was also selected for the combined side’s celebrated 1971 tour of New Zealand, which featured the Lions only series win against the All Blacks, but did not feature in the Tests after sustaining a broken thumb in a notoriously brutal match against Canterbury.
But he was a member of the Barbarians team that beat New Zealand 23-11 in Cardiff in 1973, a match where Wales star Gareth Edwards scored one of rugby union’s greatest tries.
Born in Ballinasloe, County Galway in 1939, McLoughlin was the first player at Irish province Connacht to represent the Lions and he also played for the Gosforth club in northeast England while studying at Newcastle University.
“Connacht Rugby are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Ray McLoughlin, one of the greatest players to represent the province,” said a statement on the club’s website.
“McLoughlin is regularly mentioned as one of Ireland’s greatest-ever props and he leaves an immeasurable impact on rugby in the west of Ireland.”
Apart from his rugby career, McLoughlin was also a successful businessman who became the chief executive of James Crean, an industrial holdings group.