DUNCAN Weir believes Glasgow showed real strength of character at Treviso on Sunday, as the Scotstoun men overturned a ten-point deficit and a wayward start to run in six tries and claim a bonus point 40-23 victory, which has sent them top of the Guinness Pro12.
Glasgow’s victory also equalled last term’s opening five-game winning sequence, as Gregor Townsend’s men continue to compile an impressive early momentum and build towards Saturday’s potentially pivotal encounter with third-placed Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium.
The Glasgow stand-off, who contributed three conversions at the Stadio Monigo, is desperate to retain his starting position and continue to demonstrate his growing maturity positionally and tactically, as he attempts to hold off the advances of Finn Russell and Pete Horne for the playmaker’s position.
But the Scotland international insists his side can’t afford a repeat of their erratic start in Italy if they are to claim their fourth consecutive win over Ulster.
“We knew it would be tough against Treviso. Obviously they had not won and they were playing at home and they are a very proud side in front of their support but the intensity of their start was brutal,” admitted Weir.
“Really they threw everything at us and to be ten points down after the opening eight minutes put us in a hard place. The great thing was, even although we were not at our best, we found a way through and to run in six tries away from home, particularly after that type of start, really underlines the character we have in the squad.
“But we struggled to exert any control early on and we made mistakes that were maybe down to a combination of Treviso’s intensity and our own sloppy play and that will have to be sorted for Ulster on Saturday. With the two sin bins (Niko Matawalu and Rossouw de Klerk) we made life even tougher for ourselves but again we showed, in adversity, that we can come through.
“So we’ve kept our momentum going and although we know we’ll have to lift our levels at Ulster on Saturday we’re going to Belfast in positive mood.”
The 23-year-old has started Glasgow’s last three outings in his treasured No 10 position and is hoping he can keep that run going when the Warriors head to Northern Ireland on Saturday.
While Townsend operates a rotational policy throughout his side to guard against attrition rates, Weir reckons his consistency has benefited from his consecutive starts. “It has been great to get the run of starts at 10 as I definitely think it helps you settle into your game and find your rhythm,” he said.
“Obviously, just like all the other positions in the team, there’s intense competition for places at 10 between myself, [Peter] Horny and Finn [Russell] and that’s a positive for the team as we’re all driving each other on. It also means that if you get in the side you know that you have to deliver to have any chance of staying in. But I feel like I’ve done reasonably well in the games I have featured and it’s just a case of continuing to work hard, stay focused and making sure you are learning and trying to improve all the time.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s televised meeting with Les Kiss’s side, Weir has no doubt who the Ulster danger men will be.
“I am a great fan of both Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe on the Ulster wings,” he said. “Obviously Trimble claimed two tries against Edinburgh in their last game and over the years he has hurt us as well. Then you have Tommy Bowe on the other flank and he has done it all with Ireland and, of course, the British Lions and is just a class act.
“From my perspective, when you have guys like that facing you it’s vital you are very careful with the accuracy of your kicking. But in terms of their ball carrying then the back-row Nick Williams is just an immensely powerful player and if you don’t stop him early he is going to carry deep every time.
“He has loads of experience and is in good form having touched down against Edinburgh. So we know Ulster are going into this game with a number of their top men in fine form and having beaten Edinburgh 30-0 and with the backing of 15,000 behind them on home soil they’re a tough proposition for any side in Europe. But it’s up to us to prove we can rise to the challenge once again.”