Leicester and Gloucester Tigers came together to support their former player Ed Slater after the Premiership clash at the weekend in a show of solidarity as he battles Motor Neurone Disease.
Before the match, the former lock gave a powerful interview that touched many viewers, speaking candidly about his illness, which has now impaired the ability to speak and move his arms and legs. . Slater was only diagnosed with MND last year and now walks with the help of a walking aid.
The Ed Slater Cup was established last year after the former Tigers and Gloucester player was forced to retire. Slater becomes the latest name in a list of rugby players to be diagnosed with MND when they retire, joining Rob Burrow and the late Doddie Weir who suffered from the terrible condition.
The Ed Slater Cup will be contested each time the two sides face each other during the Gallagher Premiership season. On Saturday afternoon, the two sides clashed at Kingsholm Stadium, where the Tigers ran out 20-38 winners.
The teams gave fans an exciting battle on the field of play, but sometimes there are bigger things than rugby, and that was especially evident after the final whistle.
Tigers captain and former England star Ben Youngs posed for a photo with former team-mate Slater while holding the trophy. Afterwards, both teams took a group photo with Slater.
The 35-year-old was also praised for his candid interview with TNT Sports’ Alastair Eykyn, where he spoke candidly about his struggles with the disease.
The Leicester-born player explained: “Yes, it’s very annoying. Especially when you spend the whole day not thinking about traveling, about getting in the car or whatever it may be. So suddenly Of course you have to think twice about going to the bathroom or going to the bathroom.” Walking into the kitchen, it was so frustrating.
“My current battle is knowing that my body is weakening and continuing to do my best. So I need equipment and definitely need my wife’s help. But when I look back at myself, I keep saying that I find it difficult: I don’t go out in public or play rugby because I feel strangely artificially embarrassed about it.
“Finally, I looked at myself and thought – you’ve got a little more courage about you.”
Slater, who described the interview as “a difficult watch”, was praised for his open comments about his experience with MND. Eykyn’s fellow TNT Sports host Sonja McLaughlan responded on X saying: “Your spirit shines through Ed. It’s great to see you with a smile on your face and humor intact.”
Another wrote: “A tough watch for all of us Ed. Admire your courage and honesty. And so will your family. I can’t imagine you dug deep to any extent. Please continue and continue to inspire us all to be and to act.” better.”
You can watch the full four-minute interview below: