Doddie Weir has paid tribute to Wales titan Alun Wyn Jones as he prepares to break the world record for the most Test appearances against Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations.
Weir knows a thing or two about being a legendary lock.
He was inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame on the eve of the Super Saturday opener, receiving a sculpted cap from fellow inductee Chris Paterson.
Weir is only the 27th member of Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame, having made 61 appearances for Scotland while earning a place on the British & Irish Lions’ 1997 Tour to South Africa.
He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease four years ago and has since raised millions towards finding a cure for MND through his My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
And ahead of Jones’ 149th Test appearance, Weir hailed the impact the three-time British & Irish Lions tourist has had both on and off the pitch for rugby and for his country.
“I would like to wish Alun Wyn Jones the very best this weekend for breaking the world record for the most capped player,” he said.
“He’s been a great servant to rugby, but to Wales in particular. A great servant, a great help to my Foundation as well and the best of success to him.
“And I’m sure there are going to be many more caps he’s going to get.”
As Wales and Scotland prepare to contest for the Doddie Weir Cup, which was created in 2018 to raise awareness to MND, Weir reflected on his memories of Rugby’s Greatest Championship.
“I grew up in the rugby-mad Scottish Borders,” he said. “The then Five Nations was a tremendous sporting occasion, so great to watch. It brought everyone, the whole country, together.
“We were all willing our boys on to success. Each year the excitement would build as Scotland got ready and we always felt particularly proud when players from our own club made the Scotland team.
“I was still at school when the great team won the Grand Slam in 1984, captained by the amazing Jim Aitken, spurred on by their formidable coach, and local legend, Jim Telfer.
“What a time it was. The whole of Scotland was bursting with pride and I thought: I would like to be a part of that, never realising that one day I would be.
“1990 was another great year for Scottish Five Nations Rugby when Scotland, under the guidance of Sir Ian McGeechan and Jim Teller achieved the Grand Slam again.
“They beat a favoured England at Murrayfield helped that day by a try by Tony Stranger and the walk-on by captain David Sole.
“1990 was also a great year for me. I first pulled on the No.5 shirt for Scotland. There I was, now part of the same team that landed the Five Nations Grand Slam earlier that year.
“I was training and playing alongside legends like Gary Armstrong, John Jeffrey, David Sole, Finlay Calder and many others who I am proud to call true friends.
“The team was so special, a great work ethic, work hard play hard with everyone looking after each other. Whether that was on the field or off the field.
“There were plenty of people to help keep your feet on the ground though.
“When the great Bill McLaren says you’re, “about as useful as a lighthouse in the desert” you know there’s still work to be done.
“The Auld Enemy fixture was always such a special occasion, particularly at Murrayfield, where are tremendous supporters raised the roof with the Flower of Scotland.
“The pride, the emotion of playing for your country is difficult to describe. I had some great moments in my Five/Six Nations career, like landing a try against Ireland in 1997.
“That was only one of four in 61 occasions. By then, I think it was nine years, eight games. I never quite managed to get my hands on that Calcutta Cup.”
Scotland last won the Championship in 1999, the final year before the Five Nations became Six.
And while they can’t end the 21-year wait against Wales this afternoon, Weir will be cheering them on all the way as he reflects on his great memories of old.
He added: “We did, in 1999, win the last ever Five Nations Championship before Italy joined in the fun.
“Even though my contribution was limited to 40 minutes, breaking my ankle when I landed badly from a lineout in the Wales match I was so proud to be part of that winning team.
“To bring that trophy home to stay, for all the great Scottish rugby supporters so many of whom are now such tremendous supporters of the work of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
He added: “The Foundation has immense support from the whole rugby family and this Saturday as Scotland head to Wales I’m sure all of us in Scotland will be backing our boys to bring the Doddie Weir Cup back home, where it belongs.”