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'Force of nature' Maidenhead Rugby Club legend dies aged 51

A Maidenhead Rugby Club legend, described as a ‘force of nature’, has died at the aged of 51.

Rene Dance, who was born in Waltham St Lawrence and spent his life in Maidenhead lost his battle with pancreatic and liver cancer on Saturday, March 30.

He is survived by his wife Andrea and their five children.

Allan Greene, a former Maids head coach who played alongside Rene for 17 seasons, led the tributes.

“He was a very strong and brave player, a destroyer in the scrums, he would stand up to anyone, he was fiery but you needed players like that in your team,” he said. “When he first came in we were playing teams from the south west and they were hard as nails. We were not so hard in those days and we needed someone like him, otherwise we would have been run roughshod.”

Although he was not particularly tall for a rugby player, the 5’10 tighthead prop was ‘barrel chested’ and weighed about 18 stone in his prime.

When they were playing together Greene, Rene and his brother Jody Dance were a formidable front row.

Greene said: “He was phenomenally strong, the strongest man I have ever seen. He was one of those forces of nature.”

“He could have gone to other places, he was strong enough to go higher up but he never wanted to, he just wanted to play with his mates where he was born.”

A club legend at Maidenhead, Greene said Dance was adored for his courage, determination and loyalty as well as his strength.

Although he was known as a ‘destroyer’ on the pitch, Dance was a different proposition off it.

“He was a lovely, gentle man that had a wicked sense of humour,” said Greene.

A monumental figure at the Maids, tributes have poured in.

Head coach Russell Bolton said: “This club is filled with great players and a few who have achieved legendary status. Everyone will have a beer together upstairs and celebrate the wonderful person that Rene was.”

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