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."
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