Duncan Weir says “letting his hair down” and relaxing on the field has helped him find his best form.
Now the Worcester stand-off is ready to deliver for Scotland as he prepares to step in for the injured Adam Hastings and Finn Russell.
Gregor Townsend saw his selection dilemma for the number 10 position blown apart when Hastings and Russell both picked up injuries in the Guinness Six Nations win over Wales.
But he pointed out that Weir was in the form of his life as he faced up to losing the pair ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup opener against Italy.
The 29-year-old’s more relaxed attitude to life is evident in his new hairstyle after letting it grow during lockdown for charity, and he is reaping the benefits of a similar laid-back approach on the pitch.
When asked to explain his improved form, the former Glasgow and Edinburgh player said: “I just try to enjoy myself. I think that’s a major thing.
“Don’t worry about people’s opinions or dwelling on getting selection for Scotland or even battling in the Worcester side.
“Just going to enjoy my rugby and expressing myself has been a massive thing and let the reins down a bit over the past couple of seasons. I feel I have played my best rugby on the back of that.
“I probably drove myself to get excellence in every aspect of my game, maybe wanted things a wee bit too much at times and tried to force the door open and push the boundaries a bit too much and maybe didn’t eke out the benefits of that on the field.
“Now I am thoroughly enjoying myself and just enjoying games.
“I am still preparing the same, it’s just when I’m on the field I am a bit more relaxed and just trying to let my hair down a wee bit and express myself in the best light.”
Russell is expected to be out for two months because of a groin problem while Hastings is facing double that amount of time on the sidelines after dislocating a shoulder.
Weir could make his first international start since 2016 in Rome on Saturday after ending a three-year exile off the bench against France during the Six Nations.
The fly-half admitted his absence from the Scotland set-up had been difficult to bear.
“Every time there was a squad announced, I am as big a Scotland rugby fan as anyone, so I’d be watching my phone and my wife would be the first to tell everyone that I was desperate to be involved,” he said.
“It was always hard to watch on social media when everyone was involved in camp.
“It’s great to be back here and I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. I know Gregor knows how much it means to me to be involved.
“I have had a good relationship with Finn and Adam over the past couple of weeks, it’s been good to catch up with Finn especially after not seeing him during the Six Nations.
“But we speak regularly. We have a couple of half-back meetings every week so I knew exactly what those guys were thinking and hoping to achieve during games.
“Albeit I wasn’t playing, I had my finger on the pulse in terms of the game plan and all the details. I was 24th man in the last couple of weeks so it won’t be a massive transition in terms of getting up to speed.”
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