Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir believes that his former team mate Gregor Townsend is doing a great job with the national team and feels they can now kick on with 13 Tests to play until the World Cup.
Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir believes that his former team mate Gregor Townsend is doing a great job with the national team - and feels they can now kick on and get better with 13 Tests to play until the World Cup in Japan next year.
The 48-year-old - who earned 61 caps for his country and toured with the British & Irish Lions - was speaking at BT Murrayfield late last week at the launch of his autobiography.
In 2017, the larger than life character was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) and on Saturday, Scotland will take on Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff with the Cup being played for for the first time.
And Weir is delighted with the way head coach Townsend has warmed to the role with the Scots since he took over from Vern Cotter in 2017.
Gregor Townsend admits Scotland had been tracking Sam Skinner "closely" before naming the 23-year-old in his squad for the upcoming Autumn Tests.— Talking Rugby Union (@TalkRugbyUnion) October 18, 2018
This week, @G_HMedia caught up with the @Scotlandteam head coach ????????????????https://t.co/rG9sL8Igk0 pic.twitter.com/XtFkmB9vBk
“Gregor’s been great. He’s doing well for the team and he has also been very supportive of me and my fund raising for MND,” Weir told TRU.
“Vern Cotter really got things going and Gregor has continued that good work and success.
“The team are now playing an exciting brand of rugby, there’s a good structure there, he has a good coaching and backroom team behind him and a good group of players to work with.
“It’s a good time for Scottish rugby - and I can see it continuing like that for the next while.”
Of course, the last time the Scots were in Cardiff during the Six Nations in February, they left with their tails between their legs after a 34-7 loss.
And one-man Weir feels can play a big part in avenging that defeat at the weekend is Jonny Gray.
34-7 defeat on their last visit to ?????????????? ?@DoddieWeir5 Cup up for grabs this time ??@jonnygray14 out to set the record straight on Nov 3 ?@Scotlandteam ?????????????? are preparing for the Autumn Test with @WelshRugbyUnion - my piece for @TalkRugbyUnion https://t.co/u2ifm9y53Q— Gary Heatly (@G_HMedia) October 25, 2018
“I have always admired Jonny and I think he is a really exceptional player with a big future ahead,” Weir said of the Glasgow Warriors second-row man.
“The game is much harder nowadays than when I played, well maybe not harder, but you could get away with things a bit more, but now you have to be so careful out there and Jonny does a great job for club and country.
“He is a good guy who works very hard and always wants to get better, and all of the players helped raise funds for MND by donating their jerseys from last year’s New Zealand match for auction.
“I know they have been working hard in camp this week and it would be lovely if they could bring the trophy back up the road to Murrayfield.”
Weir hopes rugby fans will enjoy reading his inspirational tale in the coming months - and the more people he can help with MND the better as far as he is concerned.
“Recently, the support I’ve had with the MND has just been unbelievable. The kindness people have shown has been astonishing,” he recounted.
“The walk-on at Murrayfield last year [pre the Scotland v New Zealand Autumn Test], for example, that hadn’t ever really been done before.
Scottish Rugby and @WelshRugbyUnion will compete for the Doddie Weir Cup this Saturday in Cardiff. The trophy was created in the workshops of Hamilton & Inches, as part of Scottish Rugby’s ongoing support for @MNDoddie5.— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) October 29, 2018
Watch as Doddie popped into the workshop to lend a hand ?? pic.twitter.com/KRTdORXh15
"To allow myself and my wife and kids to have that memory is just amazing.Newcastle have done it, as well, and now there’s Wales to come. All five of us went down to follow the Lions last year in New Zealand.
“With MND, there’s no timetable. We don’t know if I’ll be fresh enough to do things in six months, a year or whatever.
“We weren’t sure how quickly the disease would hit me, but it gave me and my family some time to make great memories.
“I’ve had nearly two years of this horrific disease. I was at a dinner last week in London and some people have only three months between diagnosis and death.
“So, they maybe haven’t had time to speak to their kids and jot things down, whereas I’ve fortunately been able to write a book and document it thanks to Stewart [Weir, co-author].
“Hopefully people enjoy reading it because I have no regrets and I will always be a positive character.”
My Name'5 Doddie: The Autobiography is published by Black & White Publishing, priced £20
Wales v Scotland for the Doddie Weir Cup is on Saturday, November 3 at 2.45pm