DUNCAN Weir will bring a five-year exile to an end in the summer when he rejoins Glasgow from Worcester in a move which represents a significant success for Danny Wilson.
The Warriors head coach had been targeting the stand-off since learning last month that Adam Hastings is to leave in the summer for Gloucester, and sees the 29-year-old Weir as a key element in his squad for next season.
Having signed what the Glasgow website called a “long-term deal” (usual translation: three years), Weir is not only set to become the team’s leading playmaker, but will also play a vital mentoring role with the younger members of the back division. A more mature player than when he left Scotstoun in 2016, he is also a more versatile one, appearing more at ease when running with ball in hand, for example, than he once did. While he may lack Hastings’ flair and unpredictability, Weir is arguably more dependable – a quality that will be of paramount importance to Wilson as he prepares for his second season in charge after a fractured first campaign.
“Duncan is an experienced, solid international 10 who will give us a strong game-management and goal-kicking platform,” the head coach said yesterday. “He’s Glasgow born and bred and someone who we believe will fit seamlessly back into our squad.
“Duncan knows exactly what it means to be a Warrior and is passionate about coming home. His experience will be a real asset to the squad next season – not only will he be a proven top-class operator available for selection, but he’ll be someone that our young backs can work with and learn from.”
With Hastings and utility back-up Pete Horne both out injured just now, Wilson still hopes to sign up a 10 who can join up immediately, on a short-term deal if necessary but for longer if possible. The coach would rather Horne were free to play in his primary position of inside centre next season, and, with Brandon Thomson expected to leave in the summer, that would leave just Weir and academy player Ross Thompson as the squad’s stand-off unless at least one further signing were made.
Weir, who has 30 Scotland caps, turned out more than 100 times for the Warriors during his first stint with the team, which lasted from his debut way back in 2010 to his man-of-the-match performance in his last game, a 70-10 win over Zebre in which he had a 10-out-of-10 success rate with the boot. The highlight of that six-year spell with his hometown team was in 2015, when he came off the bench and scored a long-range penalty in Glasgow’s 31-13 triumph over Munster in the PRO12 final.
That first stint ended in 2016, when he joined rivals Edinburgh. He headed south to Worcester two years later, but is now eager to come home for both rugby and personal reasons.
“For my family it’s going to be amazing just being so close to home, and the thought of my children growing up in Glasgow was hugely appealing to us when we were weighing up our options,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back out in front of the crowds at Scotstoun. You can’t beat the atmosphere of a game under the Friday-night lights.
“It’s massively exciting for me to be coming back. Glasgow is my home and Glasgow Warriors is my boyhood club where it all began. It’s always a massive honour pulling on the jersey and I’m really looking forward to doing it again.
“I’ve had some great chats with Danny. I’m excited to play a part in Glasgow’s future and help drive the club on to winning more silverware and competing at the top end of the table, which we are both hugely passionate about.”
The Warriors are at the opposite end of the table right now, being two points below Zebre at the bottom of PRO14 Conference A with only two wins to their name. They have a game in hand on the Italians, however, and will go above them on Saturday if they either beat or draw with Edinburgh in the rearranged 1872 Cup match at Scotstoun.