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Jackson enjoying Weir rivalry

When Glasgow's Ruaridh Jackson looks across the Scotstoun dressing room, he will see both a team-mate and a rival for his Scotland place wrapped up in one little package.

The Warriors fly-half has been forced to get used to the idea that not only does he have to share the number 10 jersey with pint-sized colleague Duncan Weir for his club side, but also for the Dark Blues.

Jackson, 25, started last year's RBS Six Nations as the nation's first-pick stand-off, but by the time the final two fixtures with Wales and France had come around, Weir was the man calling the plays.

He may stand at only 5ft 8ins tall but Scots head coach Scott Johnson believes the 22-year-old has a big future.

His opinion of Jackson is just as fulsome but t hankfully for the Australian, the pair are more likely to be sharing a joke than stabbing each other in the back.

"I had a good start to the season and got a good run of games - but I've been in and out of the side at Glasgow recently since Dunccy has come back in," Jackson told Press Association Sport.

"But to be honest, I enjoy that battle with him for the position - both for club and country. It keeps you on your toes to have someone pushing you for your place and we have some good fun in training.

"I get on well with him. He's a happy wee so-and-so.

"I know some folk will think we are rivals but I find it easy to forget about all that stuff. We just get on well so it's no big issue.

"I think it's just the way 10s are personality wise. You don't normally find we clash in that way. Maybe if Dunccy and I were props we'd be all macho and it would get a bit heated. But in truth we're just pretty chilled out."

The likelihood is that the pair will continue to share the starting duties after Johnson admitted he likes having a choice between Jackson's running game and the kicking talents of Weir.

But, while the duo are the best of friends, Jackson has not stopped working on his accuracy with the boot as he strives to push his rival into his shadow.

"Dunccy and I have different strengths and weaknesses and speaking to Johnno, he is happy with that because he has different options depending on the gameplan he has in mind.

"But I want to be able to play in all the games, no matter what plan we have.

"So to be number one, it's up to me to put in the work and make sure I can work on the areas that are letting me down."

Scotland started last year's campaign with defeat to England at Twickenham but hit back to beat Italy and Ireland - ending a 12-year wait for successive Six Nations victories.

That left them looking like they might make a surprise bid for the title but missed chances against France and Italy ultimately cost them.

"Last year's tournament was a strange one," said Jackson. "We finished third and picked up a couple of good results.

"But we also didn't play at the level we wanted to and let a couple of games slip away when we had a good opportunity to win. France in Paris was one, Wales at home another.

"If we'd got results in those matches, it could have been a really, really good Six Nations.

"But going into this year's championships, the belief is still there that we can challenge.

"Us Glasgow boys have had a good season and we're getting back to form which gives us confidence, while over at Edinburgh, they are starting to get a few more results. So things are tallying up nicely at the right time of the year ."

That encouraging set of results 12 months ago lifted morale following the despair of the failed Andy Robinson reign but a morose atmosphere was evident once more during the Autumn Test defeats to South Africa and Australia.

Jackson was culpable for two of the Springboks' four tries in a 28-0 mauling, and once again paid for his mistakes as Weir - fit again after recovering from a broken leg - was promoted for the clash with the Wallabies a week later.

The change failed to prevent a 21-15 defeat but Jackson insists the lessons of those losses has sunk in quickly.

He said: "The final two Autumn Tests were pretty bruising, particularly the South Africa game. It was a real tough one, physically and mentally.

"We gave them a few chances and they took all of them. They are just so ruthless. We were better against Australia but again we didn't take the opportunities we had and suffered.

"That's the biggest lesson we have learned. You only get a few opportunities against the top Test sides and we really need to take them all."


From Belfast Telegraph