A team-mate of tragic rugby star Nevin Spence has told an emotional memorial service that he was the epitome of all that is good in the game.

The 22-year-old Ulster Rugby player died alongside his brother Graham, 30, and father Noel, 58, when they were overcome by poisonous fumes in a slurry tank at the family farm in Hillsborough, Co Down, last weekend.

Thousands of rugby fans from across Ireland gathered at Ulster's home ground Ravenhill in Belfast to pay tribute to a man tipped for greatness in the sport.

Ireland and Ulster player Rory Best spoke on behalf of the team during the religious service, which was attended by grieving members of the Spence family.

"Nevin was a team player," said Best.

"The sort of player that every team needs but few are lucky enough to truly find.

"This was obvious every time he ran out at Ravenhill because Nevin loved rugby, he loved representing his province, the fans, his neighbours, his church and especially his family.

"This enjoyment of the game meant that Nev was one of the most consistent performers for Ulster over the last two seasons.

"Nev has left Ulster Rugby in a much better place than he found it and as a player, a colleague and friend, his memory will continue to shape Ulster Rugby for years to come.

"Nev, we will miss you but we will never forget you."