Weir: No doubts for match-winning kick
February 22, 2014
Duncan Weir held his nerve at the death © Getty Images
Duncan Weir admits he never had any doubts about his first attempt at an international drop-goal as he booted Scotland to a dramatic 21-20 win over Italy.
With the Azzurri leading 20-18 in the closing seconds, it looked as though the Stadio Olimpico would bear no fruit for Scotland for the ninth time in succession. After a poor first half, Scotland had raced back into life in the second half, and taken the lead through two Alex Dunbar tries.
But Italy fought back through Josh Furno ten minutes from time, and it looked like Scotland's second-half rally would be in vein. Trailing by two points, the visiting outfit were still very much in the game and, with mere seconds to go, Weir held his nerve in the pocket to give Scotland a much-needed win. Scotland's saviour insists he was not focusing on the enormity of the situation as he made the kick.
"It's the first time I have dropped a goal for Scotland and it has never been more important. I'm absolutely delighted," Weir said. "In those pressure moments you can only focus on your routine. I made sure I got my ball drop right and got a clean connection. I'm just so thankful it went over.
"I ran off celebrating, going off my head. It was an immense feeling. I had no doubts about taking it on. Chris Cusiter put it on a plate for me, on the right side of my body. The whole thing went perfectly."
Scott Johnson admits Weir would not have been his first choice to take the drop goal based on his training performances.
"I've been watching him in training for the three weeks and he hasn't looked like kicking one," he said. "I was delighted for him, because his is a position that carries a lot of responsibility. I seen some growth in the lad and I'm so pleased for him."
After coming in for criticism after back-to-back losses against Ireland and England Johnson insists Scotland still have plenty of work to do despite recording their opening win of 2014.
"Well it's certainly better than a loss for a boost," he said. "We can't get carried away with a win that could have gone the other way. We got a little bit of luck but we showed great resolve. But it won't mean a lot if we don't put on a show against France.
"There are things that we need to improve on, and I'm about consistency with this team. We've got to learn to win consistently, to compete consistently. The criticism last week was deserved, we didn't play well. But we showed character today. On the back of a 10-2 penalty count I think we showed great character, but we need to execute a little bit better more often."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak has been banned for four games after elbowing West Ham's Diafra Sakho
Louis van Gaal has come to the defence of Angel Di Maria after the midfielder's Manchester United career reached a new low when he was taken off at half-time in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland
France second-row Pascal Pape has had the appeal against his 10-week suspension rejected
Fernando Alonso will not compete at the Australian Grand Prix on the recommendation of doctors as he continues to recover from his testing crash in Barcelona
Sol Campbell has quashed speculation that he is seeking to replace Sir Malcolm Rifkind as the Conservative candidate for the safe Tory seat of Kensington
ESPN rounds up the pre-season of all the protagonists of the upcoming season and tries to make sense of the pecking order ahead of the Australian Grand Prix
A basketball match between Bilbao Basket and Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in the Spanish ACB League was marred by a brawl that erupted in the closing stages of the game
After enduring a tricky start to his Manchester United career, perhaps it is fair that Marcos Rojo celebrated so boisterously as he watched his first professional club Estudiantes beat fierce rivals Gimnasia
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
Eight years ago, Steve Bunce was offered the chance of buying a 'share' in Tyson Fury, and it would have been a shrewd investment if he had the money
Sunderland have suspended midfielder Adam Johnson pending the outcome of a police investigation, the club announced on Monday
Jose Mourinho says the Premier League title race is still wide open and insists even Manchester United are contenders
Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville claimed Manchester City should be "embarrassed" by how easy they made it for Liverpool on Sunday
Arsene Wenger's decision to drop Per Mertesacker could be a "defining moment" for Arsenal, according to the club's former defender Martin Keown
Rafael Benitez has raised concerns about the long-term fitness of Chelsea captain John Terry after revealing the defender is trapped in "a vicious circle" regarding his persistent knee injury
The idea of Chelsea squeezing in a quick 20-minute Wembley celebration before getting back to work is both admirable and typically soulless, writes Alan Tyers
Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher marked his return to football punditry by coining a new name for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
John Terry was visibly emotional during the national anthem in Sunday's League Cup final, but don't get your hopes up - he's not coming back to the England team
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
When was the last time the F1 world champion driver's team didn't win the constructors' championship?