SCOTLAND stand-off Duncan Weir cut a dejected figure as he emerged from the visitors’ dressing room last night, but insisted that the team would pick up quickly and learn lessons from the Ireland defeat.
Weir justified his selection ahead of Ruaridh Jackson with a good display, showing his improvement in taking the ball flat on occasions and working hard to bring his outside backs into the game. But, on his ninth Test appearance, and only third Six Nations start, he was given a lesson by Jonny Sexton in how to make the most of fleeting opportunities and was left ruing an inability by his back line to seriously threaten and turn promise into points.
The 22-year-old said: “We’ll do our analysis and we’ll hopefully work out how we can become that little bit more clinical when we get into the opposition 22.
“We can learn a bit about how the Irish squeezed the game. We were knocking on the door a good couple of times, but it’s about squeezing a team. Sexton kicked to the corners really well, and around the 55-minute to 70-minute mark they applied real pressure on us. We were forced to play from so deep, so that was a huge learning curve that we can take – how to squeeze the pressure on the opposition and create points.”
Weir is hopeful of effecting a significant improvement in time for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match. And he shrugged off the fact that England will have enjoyed an extra day’s recovery, the chance to watch Scotland yesterday and return to training today, while the Scots will not get back to the training ground until tomorrow.
“It’s not that drastic,” he said. “We’ll do our recovery and maybe do a wee bit more light stuff at the start of the week, but we’ll do our review or analysis on how we can get over that hurdle.
“We know that we got into their 22 a wee bit more than they did with ours, but we just couldn’t get that wee clinical sharp finish. I thought we started the game absolutely fantastically, got Stuart Hogg on the ball and you could see how dangerous he was, and the likes of Alex Dunbar and Duncan Taylor too. They’re big guys and so it’s important to get their hands on the ball early because they can do some damage to a defence.
“But…I don’t know. At the tail end of that first half they kicked it through and we managed to get [Jamie] Heaslip into touch, got that lineout and they got a turnover, so we inflicted pressure back on us and in international rugby you can’t afford to do that. These are the margins for error at this level. It’s cut-throat. The Irish are experienced, they managed to be clinical and that’s what we’ve got to learn from, and we will.”