Scotland international Russell Weir joins London Scottish
Scrum-half opts to return to 15s rugby as uncertainty continues to hang over future of Scotland Sevens players
Russell Weir has decided his future does not lie with the Scotland Sevens programme after signing a deal to join London Scottish.
The 25-year-old, who has 11 Scotland caps on the HSBC Sevens World Series, is the first of the current group of Scottish players to declare his hand amid the uncertainty over whether the Scottish Rugby Union will continue to support a full-time sevens programme.
Sevens was all about further developing my skill set before applying them back into 15s and it was a really worthwhile and memorable experience.
Ahead of the final round of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series in London, the SRU board confirmed that Scotland would continue on the circuit after rumours circulated that losing the Glasgow Sevens to Paris could see them withdraw their sevens team.
Despite the announcement, the SRU has not confirmed whether it will continue to have full-time players.
Only Scott Riddell is understood to have a contract for next season, with the rest of the current squad awaiting talks over what the future holds for them ahead of Rugby Europe’s Sevens Grand Prix, which starts next month.
But Weir insists that it was always his plan to get back into 15s rugby, where he plays scrum-half or full-back, and he is delighted to join the Greene King IPA Championship club.
“Travelling the world playing for Scotland at sevens has been an amazing experience, but it was always my plan to get back playing 15-a-side rugby,” Weir told the club’s website.
“Sevens was all about further developing my skill set before applying them back into 15s and it was a really worthwhile and memorable experience.
“I am delighted to be here and really excited to have signed for London Scottish – which was the obvious choice for me, being a Scotsman.
“I spoke to current London Scot David Cherry before signing and he was very complimentary about the club.
“Scottish did really well last season and ran Worcester Warriors close in the Championship play-off semi-final.
“Hopefully we can go a step further next season.”
The former Merchiston Castle School pupil came through the age grades with Scotland from 2008, the same year he captained Merchiston to the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup.
Russell is hugely ambitious and the fit with London Scottish is perfect in terms of the style of rugby we want to be associated with next season.
During his time at Loughborough University, Weir was selected for the Scotland U20s squad that competed at the 2010 Junior World Championship in Argentina before captaining Loughborough Students to the National League 2 North title in 2011/12.
He travelled with the Scotland Sevens squad to Hong Kong in March 2012 and played in the Scottish Barbarians side at the GFI HKFC Hong Kong tens before winning his first cap on the HSBC Sevens World Series against Kenya in the Bowl quarter-finals at the Nelson Mandela Bay 7s in December 2012 with his last appearance for Scotland coming at the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens event earlier this month.
London Scottish coach, Peter Richards, believes that Russell’s ambition and style of play will suit the way the Exiles want to play next season.
“We are excited that Russell has agreed to join the club,” Richards said.
“We have watched him on the Sevens circuit all season and he has a real energy and fizz to his attacking play.
“Offensively he is also a brave defender with a fantastic work ethic.
“Russell is hugely ambitious and the fit with London Scottish is perfect in terms of the style of rugby we want to be associated with next season.”