Gentleman Lion passes away

Former Lions tourist David Marques has died at the age of 77. [more]

Gentleman Lion passes away

Former Lions tourist David Marques has died at the age of 77.

Marques, who toured with Britain and Ireland’s elite in 1959, passed away on September 29 having fought a long battle with cancer.

The ex-Harlequins and England lock was one of the standout characters on that ’59 Lions tour, with perhaps his most talked-about moment coming during an early match in Australia when he was knocked to the floor in an off-the-ball incident.

Instead of retaliating, Marques simply walked up to the guilty party and shook the bemused Australian’s hand. When asked by his Irish second-row partner Bill Mulcahay why he hadn’t punched his assailant back, Marques replied: ‘You wouldn’t understand, Bill. I wanted him to feel a cad’.

As well as standing out for his restraint and manners, Marques was also hugely noticeable due to his stylish dress sense.

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When the Lions arrived in the substantial heat of Darwin, Marques stepped down from the plane in the full ‘city gent’ attire, wearing a white shirt and military tie, dark suit, bowler hat and rolled umbrella.

But it wasn’t just for those reasons that Marques will be remembered as a true giant of the game.

At 6ft 5in, Marques was literally head and shoulders above many of his opponents and team-mates.

He won 23 caps for England between 1956 and 1961 and was a Grand Slam winner in 1957 and again in 1958.

Marques represented the Lions 18 times, winning two Tests caps, the first against Australia in the second rubber and again in the second international with New Zealand.

He featured mainly at No8 for the Lions, despite having spent the vast majority of his time with club and country in the second row.

Born in December 1932, Marques was educated at Yandle Court School and at Tonbridge, where he played in an undefeated first XV with future England cricketer Colin Cowdrey.

He served in the Royal Engineers and later studied at Cambridge where he won four Blues.

Following his retirement, Marques worked in his family firm making street lights but also found time for sporting ventures such as the 1964 America’s Cup. He also spent time as a magistrate, a governor of Haileybury College and as a supporter of the charity Riding for the Disabled, which helped his youngest son, Jason.

Marques leaves a widow and three sons.

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