Wales

Paul Thorburn donates boots worn for world record kick

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Media captionPaul Thorburn donates boots worn for world record kick

It was the called "the kick of the age" and now fans have the chance to own a piece of Welsh sporting history.

Paul Thorburn's "monster" penalty against Scotland in 1986 stunned the rugby world and remains the longest ever in international rugby.

Now, ahead of Saturday's Test in Cardiff between Wales and Scotland, he has donated the boots he wore that day to the Doddie Weir Foundation.

Money raised from the auction will fund research into Motor Neurone Disease.

Image copyright Paul Thorburn
Image caption The right boot shows the damage caused by Mr Thorburn regularly digging into the turf to form a tee

During an illustrious career, Thorburn was the captain for Wales before retiring as his country's highest Test points scorer.

Yet it would be the giant effort against Scotland during their Five Nations clash in 1986, that would remain his defining moment.

Leading 16-15, Wales were awarded a penalty when Jonathan Davies was obstructed after kicking the ball clear from inside his own half.

Image caption Paul Thorburn retired in 1991 having scored 304 Test points - a record for a Wales player

Everyone inside Cardiff Arms Park - along with the millions watching - expected the Wales full-back to simply hoof the ball into touch. But he had other ideas.

"I was always a better long-range kicker than the short stuff. I was always more relaxed because I thought there was no expectation," he said.

"I used to practise them a lot and if they came off, they were always a bit more spectacular."

The decision even caught veteran rugby commentator Bill McLaren off-guard and his excited description of the kick - as the ball sailed through the Cardiff air and through the posts - only added to the magic of the moment.

"I've seen all the great goal-kickers in the world over the last decade, but I've never seen a kick like this one", he told the TV audience - and we have never seen anything like it since.

At just over 70 yards (64.2m), 'that kick' remains a record, more than 30 years later.

Now he has donated those boots to the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation, named after the former Scotland and British Lions forward who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease. Saturday's international at the Principality Stadium is played for the Doddie Weir Cup.

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Media captionDoddie Weir excited about cup in his honour

"When I found out Doddie was ill, I thought, well I've still got those boots," said Mr Thorburn, 55.

"There are nice to hang onto but there are causes in need of support and money. I could keep looking at them for a long time but I have the memories. It's far better that I give them away and people try to raise a lot of money."

"The most important thing is raising money and the profile of this disease to keep research going and help those suffering with it, like Doddie."

The online auction is set to take place some time around next year's Six Nations Championship.

Mr Weir said: "The generosity and support of people like Paul is truly amazing and that's how the foundation has been able to pledge £1m towards care and research into a cure for this horrific disease."

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