Deano expects an emotional day for Doddie
The 3pm kick-off at Kingston Park sees Doddie Weir’s former clubs going head to head in a match raising funds for his My Name’5 Doddie foundation, following his diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease.
“Doddie is no different now to when he was when he played his first game for Scotland – full of beans and full of life,” said Richards, who played against the Scottish great many times for club and country
“He epitomises everything that this club is about – you work hard, you put everything out there on the pitch and then you enjoy yourself afterwards.”
Weir recently collected the Helen Rollason Award for bravery in the face of adversity at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show, his foundation having raised almost £5 million for research into MND.
Richards said: “What Doddie’s current situation says about him is what we always knew – that he is a fighter.
“He has always had this never-say-die attitude whereby you keep going hard right until the end, and it’s all about keeping on going. He’s always been like that.”
Richards’ Falcons are on a 13-game winning streak this season, but the director of rugby says the stakes could not be higher going into Saturday’s meeting with their cross-border rivals.
“From an emotive point of view I think this is the biggest game of our season,” he said.
“The Championship and Championship Cup games mean nothing compared to the love we have for Doddie and the drive that everyone here has to help his foundation.
“It’s about bringing together his two old clubs for one common purpose, and that purpose is Doddie.
“You have to look at his whole life and not just these last few years, and not many people have done anything near as much as he has.
“Whether it’s his rugby, his speaking, his fundraising, the contribution he has made to every club he has been at – he has just lived life to the full.
“My own philosophy is to live life and make history, and I don’t think Doddie’s would be too far different.
“You’re only here once so make history while you’re here, and Doddie is certainly doing that.”
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