Duncan Weir’s finest moment in a Scotland jersey came against Italy and he is hoping that he can add more happy memories against the same opposition this weekend.
The stand-off’s brilliant late drop goal secured a dramatic win in Rome three years ago but, just a few months later, Finn Russell burst on to the international scene and has had a stranglehold on the No 10 jersey ever since.
Weir has since moved to Edinburgh to try to escapefrom Russell’s shadow and, with the Glasgow playmaker having a knee problem assessed this week and, perhaps, under a bit of pressure for his position following a disappointing display at Twickenham, there could be a chance for the 25-year-old.
Opportunities have been scarce but the 26-times capped Weir has been happy to grab any that have come along, although he would prefer them to be in his usual position rather than slotting in at full-back as he did at Twickenham as Scottish injuries piled up.
“Every opportunity to play for your country is a massive honour,” said Weir. “Even playing a role on the bench, I’m hugely proud to be in that 23. Obviously Finn has played more in this campaign which is absolutely the coach’s call. You need to totally respect that and get behind the team.
“Finn has got a different style. I’m maybe more game management and getting others round about me playing and getting ball to space that way. Which is totally fine. It’s the coach’s call on the day what blend and style of play he wants. I’m an honest player. Obviously you want to play every minute but you’ve just got to take whatever opportunity comes your way and I think I’ve done that, albeit out of position at the weekend there. I’m used to touching the ball 40-50 times a game but only touched it twice on two kick receipts, which is obviously frustrating.
“I came off the field feeling I’d not played in a game as I’d barely touched the ball. I felt the small glimpses I got against Ireland and France I got my hands on the ball and bossed the team around well. I can only control what gets put in front of me.”
Scotland will be chasing tries on Saturday as they look to finish as high up the final table as possible but adeptness at the art of the drop goal is one thing that Weir has over Russell.
The latter botched another attempt at Twickenham but Weir defended his former clubmate, insisting that he did have that in his armoury.
He said: “There are so many different aspects; the delivery from nine, what protection he has got.
“In a perfect world you would want a contact that ties in the nine who is the best guy in the opposition team for putting you under pressure. It is not solely down to the kicker, there are other people doing their job up front to give you as much time as possible.
“We do practise ten to 15 minutes at a time. Finn knows how to kick them. You can stand and observe and say what you are seeing but he does know how to kick them.
“He does not need too much coaching on that.
“Having a unique opportunity to do what I did in Rome was great. I would like to say it would come off ten out of ten times but with drop goals it is all on the scenario.”