Credit: Getty Images

The Life and Legacy of Doddie Weir

By Grace Edward

Writer Grace looks at the life and legacy of Scottish rugby player Doddie Weir.

Doddie Weir, the former Scottish professional rugby player and founder of the My Name’5 Doddie foundation, passed away at the age of 52 on 26 November 2022. Doddie was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) in 2016. Doddie’s passing had the nation mourning. But we should remember him for his successful rugby career, his achievements in raising awareness for MND, and the legacy he has left behind.

Doddie Weir was born in 1970 in Edinburgh and began playing rugby at Stewart’s Melville School. After many successes in his amateur career, Doddie took the next step from amateur to professional rugby player. In 1988, he was invited on a tour to New Zealand and proceeded to win a Scotland B cap against Ireland a year later. Doddie, with this early achievement under his belt, was then selected to play for Scotland. He made his national debut in 1990 at Murrayfield against Argentina playing the position of lock, the end result of his debut match being a satisfying 49–3 win to Scotland. Weir stated that: “I knew I was in with a shout of playing against them (Argentina) and when Damian Cronin was injured, I was drafted in for my first cap.” A year later, Weir ended up playing in the World Cup in Britain, although Scotland subsequently lost to the almighty New Zealand side.

In 1997, Doddie Weir was drafted to play in the British and Irish Lions against South Africa; he was one of six Scottish players to be selected. The tour was considered one to be remembered as the Lions defeated the Springboks in the test series 2-1. However, his tour was cut short as Weir’s knee got crushed by Marius Bosman. Despite this injury, Doddie’s participation in the Lions’ tour raised his reputation to an international level, he now had many devoted fans, especially the Scots.

Doddie’s professional career lasted 14 years; his last match with Scotland was in 2000 against France. Overall, he scored 19 points and gained 61 international caps for Scotland. Weir is remembered for his high-quality play but also for his humorous personality.

Weir remained a prominent figure in rugby post-retirement, through appearances at Murrayfield in his unique tartan suits and in the media more generally. This made Murrayfield the perfect place to launch his new foundation to tackle MND in 2017, a year after his own diagnosis. Thus, My Name’5 Doddie was created.

Weir stated that the foundation was started to “raise funds for research into a cure for MND and to provide grants to people living with the condition.” In 2020, the foundation had raised £2,204,293 and has raised £8 million since his passing.

These efforts by Doddie gained him an OBE in 2019 for services to rugby and research into MND. In quick succession, Weir was inducted into Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame, with his humour ever-prevalent when he was awarded this achievement. Weir emphasised that “it’s great that there are four Melrose men in the Hall of Fame and only two from Gala!”

It is safe to say that Doddie Weir was a spectacle to watch both on and off the pitch.

Doddie made his last appearance at Murrayfield with his wife and three sons at the All Blacks match on 13 November 2022. This time it was clear the illness had taken its toll, but that didn’t stop the ecstatic roar from the crowd which amplified the adoration people shared for Doddie Weir. However, sadly two weeks later, Weir passed away after a 6-year battle with MND. While he will be greatly missed, his legacy, his achievements with the My Name’5 Doddie foundation, his joyful character, and his love for his family and fans will live on. Yet, without George Wilson “Doddie” Weir OBE, Scottish rugby will never be the same.  


Share this story

Follow us online

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments