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Weir relishing the chance to pick up where he left off

For those who believe Scottish rugby needs an injection of passion and pride, the timing of the reintroduction to the Glasgow Warriors side of one of their fiercest competitors was most welcome.

Duncan Weir has spent two months on the sidelines after injuring a knee playing kick-tennis with a few of his Glasgow team-mates. Picture: SNS
Duncan Weir has spent two months on the sidelines after injuring a knee playing kick-tennis with a few of his Glasgow team-mates. Picture: SNS

All the moreso when Duncan Weir offered a reminder of just why he has spent the last two months on the sidelines with a damaged knee.

"It was a wee bit of kick-tennis on a Monday morning as a warm-up drill, but me training at full intensity on a wet morning, I went sliding and collided with a goal-post and it was a bit more unfortunate that the injury was more serious than you might think," he explained.

He partly accepts that it was a daft way to hurt himself, not least because it cost him the chance of winning caps in the autumn Test series, but tellingly protests: "It was a game between the nines and 10s and I wasn't going to let the nines win . . . One thing led to another and I came out on the wrong side."

Maybe so, but it was indicative of what gives Weir his edge and he now has the chance to get ahead of the men who were on his side that day in a rather more important contest. Both his rivals for Glasgow's No.10 jersey, Ruaridh Jackson, his fellow Scotland cap, and Scott Wight having had extended runs during last week's meeting with Leinster in which Glasgow failed to register a point, thereby failing in their bid to surpass the club record for consecutive league wins that was set in 2008.

Wight and Peter Horne also missed all the team's shots at goal as a result of which Weir would appear to have gained ground in his absence, but he now needs to make that count. "It's a huge opportunity," he said of his selection to wear the No.10 jersey, in Limerick tomorrow. "I was quite happy the way I was going in the first three games. I've added a more attacking mind-set in my game this year with Gregor [Townsend] coming in [as head coach] and I was getting comfortable moving on to the ball and feeding players off me."

In particular, he cited the score Glasgow registered in defeat by the Scarlets at Scotstoun in the second week of the league season as having been particularly satisfying as he took on their defensive line then fed Peter Horne with the inside ball.

Now his task is to pick up where he left off and he is relishing the chance.

"I'm just itching to get out there and put in a good performance because I know that if you don't there are two guys chapping on the door."

He comes into a back line in which Stuart Hogg has been shifted from full-back to centre for Glasgow for the first time this season, having scored a stunning hat trick in defeat the last time they went to Munster towards the end of last season. "We're looking at him as an option there," Townsend said. "At centre, he should get more touches from set-piece moves. He played very well there last season and, obviously, the game at Munster was a stand out. We're keen for Stuart to get the ball at first or second receiver."

To that end, there have been calls for Hogg's skills to be shifted even closer to the action at stand-off, but Townsend is resisting them at this stage. "Both centres [Hogg and Horne] can play at stand-off which is great, that's what we want to see during games, players with that ability to get up and play first receiver but I'm very happy with the stand-offs we've got," he noted.

Hogg is among seven players who return from Scotland duty directly into the Warriors starting XV, the others being Al Kellock, the club captain, Ryan Grant, who has recovered from the calf injury which ruled him out of the Tonga Test, Dougie Hall, John Barclay, who replaces last week's Glasgow captain Chris Fusaro, who has a groin injury, Henry Pyrgos and Sean Lamont.

Having suffered a first home league defeat by Leinster for six years last weekend, this much overhauled team is seeking to claim Glasgow's first win in six meetings with Munster.

However, it is a Munster side that has lost some its aura on home soil of late having lost to the Scarlets in Cork last weekend while even at their Thomond Park stronghold, where tomorrow's match is being played, they were beaten on successive weekends earlier this year, to Leinster in the PRO12 before suffering an even bigger surprise at the hands of Ulster in the following week's Heineken Cup quarter-final.

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