The heart will always belong to the city of Glasgow but Duncan Weir reported for duty at his new club yesterday vowing to give his all in making the Edinburgh move a success and embracing life in the capital.
When the Cambuslang-raised stand-off threatened even to sample salt and sauce on his chips you know he is serious. “I suppose I’ll have to try it at some stage,” he said with a smile.
Such local delicacies were far from his mind yesterday after the first morning proper of pre-season which he described as “pretty brutal” but the new chapter in his career has got off to a good start.
He said: “Obviously I know quite a lot of the guys here so it is not the biggest of changes for me, but you want to get to know the new coaching staff and the other people in the organisation you haven’t dealt with before, and show that you are a good person with a good working attitude.
“Coming to a new club you want to set out your stall by getting your head down and working really hard to prove you are entitled to be here.”
Weir’s move is seen as a chance for him to flourish out of the shadow of Scotland’s first choice stand-off Finn Russell and provide him with a better opportunity to get the time on the pitch he needs to challenge his friend and rival for the national No.10 jersey and add to his 23 caps.
There was disappointment when Russell’s recent withdrawal from the Japan touring squad with a head injury failed to result in a call for Weir from Scotland coach Vern Cotter, though he accepts that after a long season and with a major career change looming it hasn’t been the worst thing in the world to have “a wee west coast holiday and a hell of a lot of golf”.
The 25-year-old added: “You always want to play for your national team but I thought the guys did well out there to get two hard-fought victories in what looked like very tough conditions to play in.
“You could see how exhausted the guys were after both games, and to back it up in the second game showed the great character Vern is instilling in the team.
“I thought that was the difference between the two sides. It has been a long old season so they’ll be delighted to finish it on a high with two victories.
“After the heartbreak of the [PRO12] semi-final [loss to Connacht], I think if I had jumped straight into things I would have struggled mentally.
“But now I’m in a good place, I’ve recovered well, I’ve kept myself ticking over, and I’m ready for a new challenge now. My head is definitely screwed on and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”
Welshman Jason Tovey impressed enough during his loan spell at the end of last season to earn a permanent move and, while Weir accepts he will have to earn the starting stand-off berth, he is clear that getting more game time was the prime motivator behind the move.
“You do your most growth through playing games and learning how to overcome scenarios which come up on the pitch,” he said. “Jason did really well when he came in for the last six games of the season. It’s always good to have competition because it helps you strive to be the best you can, because you know there is a guy sitting there ready to swoop in and take your position.
“So there are no guarantees and I’m fully aware of that. I’m looking forward to working hard to show the guys here who don’t know me that I am here to do a job. Being a Glasgow boy, I could have easily just stayed at Glasgow but I felt this came at the right time and I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”
Weir and his fiancée will be setting up home in the Capital and he is looking forward to a change of scenery. “Unfortunately I don’t get my keys until the end of this three-week training block, so there will be an awful lot of early rises and a bit of sleeping on the train through because I’ll be too tired to drive,” he explained.
“I’ve spent my whole life in Glasgow and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and exploring Edinburgh – simple things like finding your local coffee shop that you love, and your banker restaurants for when you are struggling for ideas for dinner.”
Edinburgh yesterday confirmed the signing of Samoan centre Sasa Tofilau on a one-year deal.
The 21-year-old, who can operate in both the 12 and 13 jerseys, has impressed playing for BT National League Division 2 side Kirkcaldy, and spent time training with Edinburgh while also playing a key role in their team which won the Melrose Sevens.
Tofilau said: “I’m really excited to be involved at the club and I’m grateful to the coaches for putting faith in me. Hopefully I can return the favour in the way I train and play.
“I am excited and a little bit nervous for pre-season, but I’m looking forward to getting started. It’s going to be tough, but I know it’s all going to help me adapt to the environment and push me to achieve my goals and dreams.”