DUNCAN Weir has admitted his rivalry with Finn Russell for the No 10 jersey with both Glasgow and Scotland will only serve to make him a more complete player.
The 23 year-old started all of Scotland’s RBS Six Nations games last season despite losing the stand-off slot to Russell at Scotstoun and ultimately having to watch as his rival made the play for Warriors in the Pro12 final in May.
Although Weir started the season in power at No 10 for Glasgow, as Russell struggled to overcome injury, the former Falkirk and Ayr ace once again usurped his rival to run the show for Gregor Townsend’s side as they completed a historic victory over Montpellier in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
There has since been more frustration for Weir as he has only featured off the bench for Scotland in their three game Autumn Test Series while head coach Vern Cotter has preferred to start with Russell.
Yet Weir remains sanguine about the slings and arrow of outrageous fortune: “As a rugby player, you want to get pushed to the top. If you don’t have any competition, you maybe go through the motions at times,” he admitted.
Weir continued: “At Glasgow there has always been good competition and that is something I really enjoy, I am a hard working individual, I like to get my head down, knuckle down and do my extra training to improve myself as a player and an athlete as much as I can.
“It is something I enjoy doing and I feel now that I am in my fifth season here my game management has improved dramatically, my reading of the game has improved and I feel I am a better rugby player because of all the competition.
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“You could say that in any position in the Scotland team now, the competition is great. That is what that the jersey represents and demands of you, for every position there is a fight to keep that jersey.
“For me that is good for Scottish rugby. I believe that is the way it should be and should be going forward.”
Yet ultimately the frustration of his eviction from No 10 both for club and nation has caused Weir to consult with head coach Cotter over the areas he must improve and strengthen if he is once more to flourish in the dark blue of his country.
“I have had a small chat with Vern and it is about doing what I do and focusing on me as an individual. As a 10 your main responsibility is control of the team and playing in the right areas and where the space is.
“If it is on to kick, you kick and trust your defence but if the defence has flooded the backfield then you take the space they have given you in the outside channels.
“It is about you making good decisions. Unfortunately I didn’t get a huge opportunity to do that in the autumn so I am desperate to go and grasp every minute with Glasgow.
“But just from the positive displays everyone gets the excitement and hunger to go on and do good things. Turning back to last season, the atmosphere after the England game was of bitter disappointment and that has changed. I believe it has changed to good times ahead of us.”
Turning his attention to domestic service and his likely involvement with Glasgow in their Guinness Pro12 meeting with the Dragons on Sunday at Scotstoun, Weir is clearly desperate for a meaningful return to the fray.
“We have got a huge run of games coming up with four at home that will be key in our league and European campaigns. So it will be a great challenge, as a player you have to respond to the opportunities that come your way and that is certainly what I am looking to do,” admitted Weir.
He continued: “But it is just exciting to be back with Glasgow. It was a disappointing result for us at Scarlets, I watched it in the team hotel and if you lose any game it is going to be tough to take, especially when the club has been on such a successful run.
“But I look back at that Bath week when we were coming off a defeat to Ulster and were kicking ourselves but we came out and put on the best show we have put on this season in front of a packed-out Scotstoun. It was great and we have the opportunity to do the same on Sunday.
“Even though it is not a European tie, not as glamorous, it means exactly the same to this group of players. It is one we are going to have to target hard.
“We managed to win down at the Dragons earlier in the season but we know they can come up here and put on a good performance as they did last season when they managed to beat us twice.”
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