Dave Walder pays tribute to Doddie Weir
Walder scored the winning try in the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final as Weir captained the Falcons to victory in the Twickenham showpiece, with the Scottish great appearing more than 150 times during his time as a Newcastle player.
Walder said: “Doddie is just one of those guys who was universally loved by everyone.
“He always had a smile on his face, any room would light up when he walked into it and it’s tragic what has happened to him with such a cruel condition like motor neurone disease.
“Even after receiving the news of his diagnosis, though, in typical Doddie fashion his first thought wasn’t about himself. He just set himself away thinking how he could help others who were also suffering from MND, and he’s raised many, many millions to help try and find a cure.”
Asked about his memories of Doddie during their playing days together at Newcastle Falcons, Walder said: “I was one of the younger players coming through at the time, and you look up to the senior pros like Doddie.
“As much as he was an incredible player, he certainly didn’t like training, and he knew every trick in the book to get out of it.
“He was an incredibly funny guy around the place, always chipping in with a practical joke or a bit of chat to keep everyone’s spirits up, but when it came to game time he just flicked the switch and was 100% focused on doing his job for the team.
“People understandably go on about what a great fundraiser and a host he was, but it’s easy to forget what an incredible rugby player Doddie was for the Falcons and also at international level.
“I’ll never forget being part of that 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final team when he was captain, and him passing the trophy round the changing room for people to take a drink out of.
“He was all about making people happy, and life was never dull when Doddie was around.
“It’s obviously really sad what’s happened and naturally our thoughts are all with Doddie’s family, but I think you can see from tributes over the past few days how much he meant to everyone and the esteem with which he will always be held.”