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Weir relishing the pressure

Scotland stand-off Duncan Weir insists he is not worried about full-back Stuart Hogg making a bid for his number 10 jersey.

Weir has kept his starting spot for Saturday's clash with Italy, despite the Rome clash shaping up to be a RBS 6 Nations wooden spoon decider.

The Glasgow half-back failed to assert himself in either of Scotland's first two games against Ireland and England, which have both ended in crushing defeats.

Hogg declared after the 20-0 humbling by England that he would relish the chance to take-up the play-making mantle, while head coach Scott Johnson has toyed with the idea in the past.

However, he has opted to hand Weir another chance an fly-half and the 22-year-old insists the threat of his Warriors team-mate moving up from number 15 will add to his motivation.

"There is always going to be competition," he told Press Association Sport.

"It doesn't matter if there is no replacement stand-off on the bench, I know I'll have a fight on my hands. Greig Laidlaw has played there for Scotland before and Hoggy did it for the Lions during the summer.

"But that is how it should be. You should have that pressure on your shoulders to perform.

"It doesn't matter that I'm only 22. You shouldn't get an easy ride in a Scotland jersey. Personally, I take great pride in wearing it and it should be hard to earn that right."

The criticism has been fierce in the wake of that crushing loss to England, with former players like Peter Wright and Andy Nicol lining-up to stick the boot into Scotland's coaching set-up.

Ex-prop Wright branded Johnson a "joker", while retired scrum-half Nicol claimed Scotland would lose all five Championship fixtures unless drastic changes were made to the side.

But Weir said those comments were not helping the players.

He said: "I don't tend to read the papers, but some of my friends and family have posted things on Twitter and Facebook so I know there's been some flak flying about.

"The England game was difficult enough to take without beating myself up further. I don't want to put even more pressure on myself by reading all the articles.

"I know as an individual that it wasn't good enough and we know that collectively as a team.

"But we know we can fix it and the solution is in that dressing room.

"The (former players) are all entitled to their opinions, but it is not easy when you are hearing about these type of comments.

"But our focus has been on going on to Italy and proving our critics wrong."