Doddie Weir, former Scotland and Lions second-row, dies aged 52

Doddie Weir, former Scotland and Lions second-row, dies aged 52

2022 Autumn International, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland 13/11/2022

Doddie Weir, the former Scotland and British & Irish Lions second row, has died aged 52, the Scottish Rugby Union has announced.

Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2016, and for the past several years had worked to raise awareness of the condition, and to generate research funds via a charity foundation, My Name’5 Doddie.

Weir made an appearance, along with his family, on the pitch at Murrayfield before Scotland’s defeat by the All Blacks less than two weeks ago. Scotland’s players wore jerseys with blue and yellow tartan that day, to mark five years since the forming of the foundation.

Weir won 61 caps for Scotland’s national team between 1990 and 2000, making his debut against Argentina in November 1990. He also won a solitary cap for Scotland B in 1989.

Doddie Weir, right, and former Ireland hooker Shane Byrne. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Doddie Weir, right, and former Ireland hooker Shane Byrne. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

His professional club career included spells at Newcastle Falcons, where he made 97 appearances between 1995 and 2002, and Border Reivers in Scotland, where he played between 2002 and 2005 and also played 97 times.

In 1997 he was selected to tour South Africa with the British & Irish Lions, but his involvement was ended by a knee injury in a match against Mpumalanga Province before the Test series began. The Lions went on to win the series 2-1.

In an interview with the Guardian in June, speaking about his degenerative condition, Weir said: “It’s a lot harder now. I’ve got a lot slower. I am totally dependent on other people doing everything for me.” 

Speaking after Scotland’s spirited performance in the recent loss to the All Blacks on 13 November, and Weir’s appearance before the match at Murrayfield, the home captain Andy Ritchie said: “It’s bigger than rugby, but we did that for Doddie, such a special man, we’re glad we could put a decent performance out there for him, but sorry we couldn’t get the result.

“I don’t think anything defines brave more than Doddie, we were so proud that we could wear his tartan on our back. I can’t put it into words.” 

Weir’s charity foundation was created in 2017 to raise funds for research into the disease. The foundation website states “we are absolutely committed to our vision of a world free of MND”.

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