Mark Bennett plans to channel Scotland frustration positively as Edinburgh unveil plans to mark Doddie Weir

Mark Bennett admits that he was frustrated at being limited to one start and one replacement appearance during Scotland’s recent Autumn Test Series, but the centre says his overriding emotion is of excitement at being back involved in the national set-up.

Edinburgh's Mark Bennett played saw little game-time for Scotland in the Autumn Nations series
Edinburgh's Mark Bennett played saw little game-time for Scotland in the Autumn Nations series

After four years in the international wilderness, Bennett made his Scotland comeback as a replacement against France during last season’s Six Nations, so he has a heightened awareness of just how special it is to be involved at that level, even as a fringe player. And the 29-year-old is determined to use the next two months with Edinburgh to push for a more central role in Gregor Townsend’s plans during the build-up to next year’s World Cup.

“This Autumn was a disappointing series personally because I think I had more to offer, but I’m in a position that I feel like if I am given a chance then I’ll take it,” he reasoned. “I’ve got this block between now and the Six Nations to do everything I can to push my case further.”

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Bennett will have an opportunity to lay down an early marker for the Six Nations when he lines up for Edinburgh at the DAM Health Stadium against a Munster team who started the season slowly but have built some momentum in recent weeks by beating a Springbok A side during the Autumn break and then Connacht last weekend.

“They are hard to play against – really physical and dynamic up-front – and watching the game at the weekend they did a lot of good stuff,” he said. That physicality is the game, if you can match them there then you will have a shout of winning, and if you don’t then you are facing a hiding – it is as simple as that,” he added.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Rugby fans have been called upon to turn out in tartan this Friday night as the club celebrates the life of Doddie Weir at its URC match against Munster at DAM Health Stadium.

The 61-cap Scotland and British & Irish Lion passed away at the weekend, as his heroic battle against Motor Neuron Disease came to a close. Since diagnosis, his indomitable bravery and spirit captivated the global rugby community and beyond, helping raising millions of pounds to fund research projects and raise awareness of the tragic disease.

Supporters at Friday night’s match are encouraged to wear tartan garments – particularly those of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation itself – to bring colour to the match, where a moment's applause will be held in his memory before kick-off. Club ‘Blue Crew’ volunteers will be on stand-by at the ‘Oor Doddie’ statue at the south-west corner of BT Murrayfield Stadium, handing out Doddie Weir tartan headbands when evidence (i.e., a screenshot) of a confirmed donation to the foundation is shown. Donations can be made in advance here or using the QR codes present on the night.

Douglas Struth, Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, said: “Everyone at Edinburgh Rugby was deeply saddened by the recent passing of Doddie Weir – a colossus of the game in so many ways. The burden of responsibility on us and the rugby community is now more important than ever to continue his incredible fight against MND. It would be lovely to see the colours of his – or indeed any – tartans around the ground as we pay tribute to the great man and rally a surge of sign-ups for Doddie Aid and continue the fight against MND in his memory.”