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2 Dec, 2021 15:02

Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ Scottish women’s rugby star after sudden death aged 26

Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ Scottish women’s rugby star after sudden death aged 26

The world of rugby has been mourning Scottish women’s international Siobhan Cattigan after her death at the age of 26.

Cattigan’s club Stirling County announced the news in a post on Tuesday, saying that the player had passed away on Friday of last week.

“It’s with a heavy heart we pass on the news of the tragic passing of Siobhan (Shibby),” read the message.

“Shibby has been a big part of County for many years and will be hugely missed by everyone at the club. 

“She was central to the development of women’s rugby within the club  and an inspiration to the girls in the youth section.

“Shibby was a teammate and friend and we deeply mourn her loss.  Our love, thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Shibby’s family at this devastating time. 

“We very much hope their privacy will be respected by everyone as they deal with their tragic loss,” it added.

The Scottish Rugby Union said that specialist employees were providing “on-going support to those most closely affected” by the tragedy.

No further details of Cattigan’s death were released, although the Daily Mail said it was thought to be “non-suspicious.”

Elsewhere, The Telegraph reported that Scottish Rugby officials were seeking the removal of social media posts from anti-vaxxers who were attempting to attribute Cattigan's tragic passing to the Covid jab.

MP Julian Knight, who is chairman of the Digital Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, described the posts as "despicable." 

"It is a horrific time for this young lady’s family and to have these idiots try to hijack such an appalling event in order to push their quite bizarre and, frankly, dangerous world view is sickening to the core,” said Knight. 

“I would call on social media companies to act immediately to ensure that those individuals who are propagating this disinformation are expelled from their platforms and processes are put in place to ensure that none of this bile spreads any further.”

Cattigan, who was a back row, won 19 caps for her country and was in action for Scotland as recently as September in a World Cup qualifying match against Spain.

She was a fierce advocate for female players and frequently blasted sexism in the sport. Away from the rugby pitch, Cattigan studied Criminology and Sociology at the University of Stirling and later earned a Master’s degree in Sports Psychology.

Paying tribute, World Rugby chairman and former England men’s captain Bill Beaumont said: “Deeply saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Scotland international Siobhan Cattigan. She was a fine player and an inspiration to many.”