Reports over the weekend that in the summer, Duncan Weir is in negotiations with Glasgow Warriors about a move back north would have created mixed feelings among the fan base of the club.
‘Meatball’ remains a famous figure at the club where he started his professional career just over a decade ago, as he is affectionately called, and the thick head of hair he usually wears on his head to raise money for charity has contributed to his reputation as a cult hero.
The offensive player still has a few good years ahead of him at 29, but one can’t help but feel that his signing will be the ultimate confirmation that the Warriors are no longer an up-and-coming nursery for promising young talent, but rather a stop on the road to the home of retirement.
Weir is joined by Niko Matawalu, Richie Gray, Leone Nakarawa, Glenn Bryce, Sean Kennedy, and now-departed DTH van der Merwe, who have returned to the club for the first time in recent seasons to make their mark.
Only Bryce and Kennedy have suggested that of those players they are able to reproduce or build on the shape of their first seasons at the club.
In the summer of 2016, Weir was moved from the Warriors to Edinburgh to avoid being trapped in the line for regular playing time behind Finn Russell. Russell then left the club for Paris in 2018, and next season his replacement in the Glasgow number 10 jersey, Adam Hastings, will transfer to Gloucester – thereby providing Weir with an opportunity to put his club career full circle.
Meanwhile, before Worcester Warriors revived his career, Weir had undergone a couple of injury-plagued seasons with Edinburgh. He made 30 appearances, sitting on the bench for three minutes against France in March and in the starting eleven (again) against Italy and France in the fall.
However, those two appearances were only necessary because they both injured Russell and Hastings. If all three are healthy, Weir – as respectable and strong a kicker as he may be – will not be called into action.
If Weir returns to Glasgow, he won’t disappoint anyone, but it’s not a positive development for the club to substitute Russell with Hastings and then Hastings with Weir, who was deemed surplus to requirements four years ago.
Glasgow are on the lookout for two wing-backs with Brandon Thomson already out of contract at the end of the season and are reported to be interested in 21-year-old Ben Healy from Munster as well. It’s just a shame that no one who has come through the Scottish system seems to suit the bill — that would be an investment in youth.
Meanwhile, on the weekend, Huw Jones was associated with a move to London Irish, while Scott Cummings, Sam Johnson and Jamie Dobie are some of the other leading players expected to be released in the summer on loan.
In the coming weeks, Glasgow will be expecting to confirm a number of new and ongoing signings.