WATSONIANS will take on the Co-Optimists invitational club at Myreside tomorrow in the first of two charity games to be played this month with some familiar Scotland faces on show.
The match kicks off at 3pm, and the Sonians team will include former Scotland players Barry Stewart, Jason White and Marcus Di Rollo, all now involved in coaching at the club.
The match will raise money for the Euan MacDonald Centre at the University of Edinburgh, a charity which terms itself a “centre without walls”, has 30 researchers across Scotland and which seeks to improve the lives of patients living with motor neurone disease (MND) through fundamental research and patient-centred projects.
It received a major boost to its profile and fundraising efforts in November when former Scotland centres Scott Hastings and John Frame organised a dinner at Murrayfield with former South Africa star Joost van der Westhuizen as guest of honour. After being diagnosed with the terminal disease in 2011, the World Cup-winning scrum-half has launched a worldwide bid for funds.
The Euan MacDonald Centre was established in 2007 following a donation by Euan MacDonald, MBE, an Edinburgh-born investment banker, who was diagnosed with MND in 2003, and his father Donald MacDonald, CBE, and is run by Professor Siddharthan Chandran, who all met Van der Westhuizen and began planning a new joint venture in South Africa.
Watsonians president Paul Di Rollo explained the thinking behind this game and another on 18 January against an army team. He said: “The committee felt that as rugby is very much a social/community game Watsonians would like to put something back into the local community.
“The game against the Co-ops will be raising funds for the Euan McDonald Centre, which is a charity very close to the hearts of a lot of people in rugby.
“I don’t think anyone at the Murrayfield dinner recently with Joost will have left with anything other than a desire to see Euan’s foundation go from strength to strength, in tandem with the work Joost is doing, and, if we can play a small part, I’ll be delighted.”
The Co-Ops, coached by Boroughmuir chief Bruce Aitchison, beat a young Edinburgh Accies side 38-17 last week and are hoping to record a double at Myreside.