Record-equalling fly-half Duncan Weir is relishing the challenge of keeping Scotland fly-half Ruaridh Jackson on the bench when Glasgow Warriors’ RaboDirect PRO12 season gets back under way on Friday.
In terms of statements of intent, the marker laid down by Weir against the Newport Gwent Dragons takes some beating – his eight successful penalties matched the RaboDirect PRO12 kicking record.
The 21-year-old has thrived in the absence of Jackson, who was involved in Scotland’s World Cup campaign, and despite their close friendship has no intention of vacating the No.10 shirt when the Ospreys come to Firhill on Friday night.
He said: “We are good friends but I know we were also competing for the same shirt.
“Last season we were pushing each other and it will be another tussle this time around.
“There was a fair bit of pressure on me when he was out in New Zealand to perform well and keep my hand up for the jersey.
“But that has given me the confidence that I can compete and excel at the top level.
“Against the Dragons, I had no idea I had equalled the record until I was told afterwards.
“I kicked quite well against Cardiff so I was confident going into the game and I was just striking the ball very cleanly.
“As a kicker I thrive on that sort of pressure. You can’t shy away from those things and I enjoy having that responsibility which is something I hope I will continue to be granted.”
Weir also received a tutorial from Scotland kicking coach Duncan Hodge before he departed for New Zealand but he nearly ended up kicking a very different sort of ball for a living.
As a teenager Weir was equally adept at football as he was rugby and earned trials at Celtic and Kilmarnock as a centre back.
Several of his close friends have ended up forging careers in the Scottish Premier League including Rangers’ pair Jamie Ness and Kyle Hutton.
But football’s loss is rugby’s gain and Weir has no regrets over his decision to pursue his career in the oval-ball game.
He said: “I played both sports when I was growing up and I had a few trials at a few clubs but once I was 15 I gave rugby my full attention.
“I am still good mates with a quite a few of the lads like Jamie and Kyle but I have never looked back and thought ‘what if?’
“I am really enjoying my rugby at moment and that’s what I want to do for the rest of my career.”