Coaches go head-to-head for Doddie

Shaun Edwards and Gregor Townsend are special guests at a unique pre-match dinner to be held at Principality Stadium on the eve of the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup match between Wales and Scotland next week, which will raise awareness for the 'My Name'5 Doddie Foundation'.

Wales defence coach Edwards and Scotland boss Townsend will answer questions from the assembled audience ahead of only the second match, of 124 Tests played to date between the two nations, to be contested outside of the Four/Five/Six Nations tournament.

The match is raising awareness and fundraising for the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation (CLICK) and tables at the dinner, which will set the mood for the entire four-match Under Armour Series which follows, are still available.

Doddie Weir is the former Scotland and British & Irish Lions lock who faced Wales on eight occasions during a glittering 61-cap career - he retired in 2004, but since 2017 his personal fight against Motor Neurone Disease and public pursuit of a cure has touched the hearts of the global rugby family.

The formation of the Doddie Weir Cup is a gesture of support by the WRU and the Scottish Rugby, designed to raise awareness of MND as well as contribute funds to the work of the foundation set up in Doddie's name and will be played for whenever the sides meet in similar future circumstances.

On the day of the game the Doddie Weir Foundation will feature heavily on Stadium big screens, LED advertising and in the match programme, with an audience of millions watching live on the BBC and Doddie and his family present as guests of the WRU.

Already over 10,000 supporters attending Wales' open training session at Principality Stadium at the start of next week have made donations to the fund and the eve-of-match dinner, which will also be attended by other famous faces from both Welsh and Scottish rugby, will be followed by collections around Principality Stadium concourses and hospitality areas on match-day.

"The match at The Principality Stadium on 3rd November is a wonderful tribute to Doddie and he is honoured to have his name on the new trophy," said Scott Hastings, Chairman of Trustees for the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.

"It is a personal tribute to Doddie but also the opportunity for his Foundation to continue to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

"The Foundation very much appreciates the support of Scottish Rugby, the WRU and the wider rugby community - all have stepped up since Doddie's diagnosis.

"My Name'5 Doddie Foundation was launched almost a year ago at Murrayfield and the level of support has been incredible.

"The generosity of people has been amazing and has helped Doddie and the trustees further their goals of investing significant funds into research to find a cure for this devastating disease and help support those affected by MND."

Elsewhere, the weekend is being treated as a celebration of the 135-year history of Welsh and Scottish rugby with Welsh and Scottish schools coming together for a cross field 7s festival at Cardiff Arms Park, also on Friday 2nd November (4 - 9pm), with a mixed ability rugby match between Llanelli Warriors, who are celebrating having just reached their 300th match, and Scottish Clan at the same venue on Saturday morning. The players and staff will all then watch the senior international at Principality Stadium.

"We look forward to hosting Australia, Tonga and South Africa in the month ahead, but I can't think of a better way to begin a Rugby World Cup year that by facing our old rugby family rivals in this unique fixture against Scotland to contest the Doddie Weir Cup," said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

"Doddie's story has touched hearts around the World game and his dedication and commitment to raising awareness and fundraising to find a cure for motor neurone disease has inspired the international rugby family.

"We have been inspired too and have committed to both raising awareness and to direct fundraising for MND and the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation - and we have created the Doddie Weir Cup in partnership with our friends at the Scottish Rugby Union as a gesture of that support.

"We make history with a unique fixture next weekend, the first time Wales and Scotland have clashed in an autumn series, but also start a new tradition with the new Cup now at stake whenever the two sides meet in future similar circumstances.

"When we arranged this international match, both the SRU and ourselves were determined to use the fixture to celebrate the close camaraderie that exists at all levels of the game between our two countries and the memories formed with these community cross-border encounters - both on and off the field - will last a lifetime for the school pupils and mixed ability players.

"I know supporters from both Wales and Scotland will unite in their support of the good work of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation at Principality Stadium this weekend."

Scottish Rugby's Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay added: "We were honoured to launch Doddie's foundation at BT Murrayfield last November when, accompanied by his three sons, Doddie presented the match ball ahead of Scotland's match against New Zealand. It was a moment of great poignancy and transcended sport.

"The My Name'5 Doddie Foundation is one of Scottish Rugby's official charity partners and throughout our Autumn Tests, beginning in Cardiff next Saturday, and then back at BT Murrayfield against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina, we will continue to raise awareness of the Foundation and its fund-raising to assist those affected by this appalling condition and drive forward research to find a cure."

We would like to direct you to the foundation's website where you can learn more about our plans and see how you can help Doddie make a difference in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease. https://www.myname5doddie.co.uk/

ABOUT DODDIE

Doddie Weir is one of rugby's most recognisable personalities. He earned 61 caps for Scotland during a successful playing career, represented the British & Irish Lions on their successful tour to South Africa in 1997, and won championships with his two club sides, Melrose and Newcastle Falcons.

In June 2017 the Scot revealed he was suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. From the outset, Doddie has been driven to help fellow sufferers and seek ways to further research into this, as yet, incurable disease.

In November 2017 Doddie and his Trustees launched the registered charity My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.

Its aims are to raise funds to aid research into the causes of Motor Neurone Disease and investigate potential cures and to make grants to individuals suffering from MND, to enable them to live as fulfilled a life as possible.

Doddie's focus is now firmly on helping others and raising awareness of MND while also raising funds to aid research into this devastating disease.