Mike Young, Partner at George F. White reviews the past seven months of rugby in the Borders and Lothians and looks forward to the Autumn season.
Well, what a rugby year!
A lot has happened in Scottish rugby and our extended rugby family over the past seven months. It does not seem that long ago that, in March this year, a wet-eyed Vern Cotter walked for the final time around our great national stadium in front of a packed home crowd following a convincing 29-0 win against Italy in last year’s RBS Six Nations Championship.
It is with immense gratitude that we remember Vern as the most successful coach since Ian McGeechan in 1993 with a win percentage of over 53%. Most importantly, leaving Scottish rugby in a place where ‘belief’, ‘confidence’ and even ‘expectation’ becoming the norm, leaving us fifth in the world with a fantastic legacy, the Kiwi returned to France and Montpellier with Greig Laidlaw by his side.
In May, Gregor Townsend, the Borders lad from Galashiels, took over the reins from Vern Cotter following a fantastic coaching career at Glasgow Warriors embarking and naming his first squad for the southern hemisphere tour on 8th May which took place in June 2017. What a successful tour it was with strong victories against Italy (34-13) and Australia (24-19) leading up to the British Lions tour of New Zealand.
We all soon came back down with a bump in June when the Scottish rugby family was devastated with the news announced by Doddie Weir, ‘The Big Man from the Borders’ was diagnosed with MND.
Doddie had the diagnosis in December 2016 and chose to keep it very private between himself and close family before announcing it to the wider public in June.
Doddie has since set up a Trust along with Gary Armstrong and his wife, Kathy.
The other Trustees are:
Finlay Calder OBE
Stuart Weir – his brother
and Jill Douglas
The Trust aims to support Doddie, Kathy and the family in times ahead as they live with this currently incurable condition as well as raising the profile of this degenerative condition known as MND.
We are already involved in charity events for such a critically important cause and recently attended a race day raising £13k, helping to promote awareness and contributing to help find a cure for MND.
I would like to urge you all to join in and do whatever you can to support this fantastic cause.
At this Autumn’s internationals we welcome Somoa, New Zealand and Australia with confidence building on the back of Vern Cotter’s tenure of high expectation and dreams of the treble.
Scottish rugby is definitely in a strong and bouyant position but our thoughts are also with Doddie Weir and his family at this challenging time.
Looking forward to the RBS Six Nations 2018, round 3 is the key for all Scottish rugby fans when the ‘auld enemy’ join us at Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup. Distant memories of 1990 and David Sole with white headband walking out on to the battlefield winning 13-7 against Carling’s men is still a lasting memory for those Scottish rugby fans.
Whilst our national team is largely fed from Edinburgh and Glasgow professional sides, there can be no escape from the heritage and heartbeat of Scottish rugby which comes from the Borders and Lothians.
I look forward with excitement and expectation of where Gregor Townsend can take the Scottish national side and we wish Doddie Weir and the foundation well in their quest to raise awareness of MND.