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Wales v Scotland match ball taken from Edinburgh to Cardiff by bike

Mark Beaumont joins rugby legends for ride to 6 Nations clash that has raised more than £200,000 for motor neurone disease research

When the Wales vs Scotland Guinness Six Nations match kicked off at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff yesterday afternoon, the ball travelled around 40 metres from Finn Russell’s boot … but in the preceding 48 hours or so, it spent more than 500 miles from Murrayfield in Edinburgh to the Welsh capital on the back of a bike in aid of a charity founded by Scottish rugby legend, Doddie Weir.

The former Scotland and British & Irish Lions lock forward revealed in 2017 that he has motor neurone disease.

Since then, he and his supporters have raised millions of pounds for research into the condition through the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – 5 being the number the big man from Edinburgh wore on his back during his playing career.

As part of its fundraising activities, the charity began taking the Calcutta Cup match ball from Murrayfield to Twickenham, or vice versa, depending on which city was hosting the match.

However, with the trophy that Wales and Scotland compete for in their matches named the Doddie Weir Cup, this year the ride has been from Edinburgh to Glasgow, with the riders led by round-the-world record holder Mark Beaumont and former Scotland captain Rob Wainwright setting off from Murrayfield on Thursday morning and arriving in Cardiff earlier today.

Joining them for the journey was a 100-strong peloton cyclists, many wearing cycling kit in the charity’s signature yellow, blue and black tartan.

They included former rugby union players including former England players Martin Johnson and Mike Teague, Paul Volley – who played for England A and won the Heineken Cup with London Wasps and later played for London Scottish –  and ex-Wales forward Colin Charvis.

Wainwright said: “We do it for extraordinary people like Doddie and [MND campaigner] Davy Zyw, but ultimately for all the other friends we have not met who suffer or will suffer from this awful disease.

“I’m thrilled that the Cycling Souters and all 20 teams are involved and doing an amazing job, both on the road and with their fundraising.

“We are only £4,000 short of beating our fundraising target of £250,000 – which could employ a PhD team on MND research and you never know, they could produce the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for!”

It was a key game for both sides, with Wales looking to put the disappointment of a heavy defeat to Ireland in Dublin behind them, while Scotland were aiming to build their championship challenge following their successful Calcutta Cup defence against England in Edinburgh last week, and a nail-biting encounter saw the hosts edge the match 20-17.

Here’s a round-up of some of the social media posts from the ride.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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