Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
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# Heineken Cup
I'd take Ulster at Ravenhill over Barcelona at the Nou Camp any day - Duncan Weir
The Scottish out-half was in the Glasgow Celtic youth team with James Forrest.

DUNCAN WEIR MUST have felt a twinge of jealousy when he saw Glasgow Celtic’s James Forrest run out onto the immaculate Nou Camp itch in the Champions League last October.

The young midfielder replaced Giorgos Samaras after just 43 minutes with the Hoops leading 1-0.

Celtic, watched by Weir back in Scotland, eventually lost to a late Jordi Alba goal but they would have their revenge two weeks later in the return tie.

Weir is now into his third season at Glasgow Warriors and has been named in the starting XV to take on Ulster at Ravenhill tonight.

There were surely regrets at missing out on a chance to play against Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta?

He told, “Not al all. I focused completely on my rugby after my year with Celtic. I gave it my biggest effort and I have no regrets.”

James Forrest (far left) and his Celtic teammates are gutted after Barcelona’s Nou Camp winner. (Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport)

Four of Weir’s former teammates at Glasgow Celtic are now plying their footballing trade professionally at clubs such as Celtic, Rangers, Bolton and St Mirren.

However, with two Scottish caps to his name and a Six Nations campaign, under a new coaching set-up, looming, Weir is more than happy with the path he chose.

Run of form

Glasgow Warriors may be zero from four in the Heineken Cup but they go into tonight’s match-up against Ulster on the back of three wins.

They defeated Edinburgh twice over the festive period and handed Treviso a 41-7 hiding to climb to second overall in the Pro12 table.

Weir was a spectator when the side’s met back in October and feels the game, which Ulster won 19-8, was a ‘tight occasion that could have went either way’.

He said, “Ulster are probably the best team in Europe at the moment. Our job is to go out their and numb their attack.”

Asked to name the Ulster dangermen, Weir goes for the international selection of ‘lovely runner’ Jared Payne, Nick Williams and Ruan Pienaar. He commented:

Pienaar is a world-class player with 80-odd caps for the Springboks. It would be huge for us to cut down the space he likes to operate in and pressure his kicking game.

“Williams has shown the type of damage he can do to teams if he gets rumbling.

“We have to put pressure on their kicking and chop them low.”

Playing for pride

Ulster may have lost their unbeaten record in December but they are still clear favourites to beat a Glasgow team that have lost all four games in the Heineken Cup this season.

Weir said, “As a club, we’re pretty disappointed that we haven’t got a win. We were 15-0 up against Northampton at home but gave up two soft tries after the break.

“We are determined to go out there and show Europe that we can be back with the best next season.”

With Dean Ryan and Scott Johnson in charge of the Scottish national team on a short-term deal, Weir is aware that two good European outings could put him in the mix for the Six Nations.

“You can always have that on the backburner,” he said, “but first and foremost is going out and putting in a good shift against Ulster.”

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