It might look like the beginning of the end for the veteran playmaker, but he insists that it would be a gross misjudgement to assume his Glasgow Warriors homecoming is the start of an easing process into retirement.
The 30-year-old knows he is going to have to fight for the No.10 jersey against two younger men in the shape of last year’s breakthrough star Ross Thompson (22) and fellow recent recruit Domingo Miotti (25), who is currently away playing for Argentina in the Rugby Championship. However, Weir believes he is a better player now than when he was deemed surplus to requirements at Scotstoun back in 2016, and he is determined to demonstrate that to his hometown support.
“I am a Glasgow boy and bringing my young family back to Glasgow was a huge driving factor for me, as was the opportunity to play again for a club I am hugely passionate about and supported as a young boy,” explained the Rutherglen-born Scotland internationalist.
“I’ve missed that connection to Glasgow and the feeling that you’re representing the city you were brought up in and a club that you’re hugely passionate about. Playing at Edinburgh [between 2016 and 2019] and down at Worcester [between 2019 and 2021], you need to find that emotional connection. The link to Glasgow is so huge and personal to me that it was a big factor in coming home, that burning desire. I feel I’m coming back, and my best rugby is still around the corner.”
With the easing of Covid restrictions meaning that crowds are finally set to return to Scotstoun this season, and with head coach Danny Wilson having recruited impressively during the summer, Weir expresses excitement about being part of a new era for the Warriors.
“When I left the club was on a real high with sell-out crowds every week for a good couple of seasons,” reflected the stand-off, who was part of the Warriors squad which became the first – and only so far – Scottish side to lift a major piece of silverware during the professional era when they claimed the PRO12 title under Gregor Townsend in 2015.
“I only have really fond memories of playing at Scotstoun and that crowd can make a huge difference. I feel very privileged that we’ll get the chance to create great memories again and experience that atmosphere again at Scotstoun. It will be special for the guys here who have yet to experience that.”
“Experiencing the Premiership has helped me as a rugby player,” he added. “The quality you’re playing with and against each week was great. It’s a slightly different profile in terms of broadcast, and in terms the historic teams and venues you encounter, so I’ll take those experiences from down south and dealing with the pressures of relegation and try to feed that into the successful brand of rugby that we seem to be getting back to at Glasgow.
“I was delighted to see the team’s performances in the Rainbow Cup at the tail-end of last season and how the guys finished on a high. It’s about picking up from there and driving the club even further forward. We want to create a real buzz about the place by expressing ourselves in the best light.”