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Scotland finished third in this year’s Six Nations with victories over England, France and Italy

Former international Doddie Weir hopes Scotland is on the cusp of a “golden age” under Gregor Townsend.

The Scots have beaten Australia twice, France and England since Townsend replaced Vern Cotter as head coach a year ago.

And Weir, who won 61 caps between 1990-2000, thinks the good times will continue for the national team.

“Vern did a great job but Gregor has taken it up a peg or two,” Weir, 47, told BBC Scotland.

“It’s lovely to see and the players want to play for him. They want to play exciting running rugby, which we all want to see. With that, and the player base and the skill level, that is allowing him to do that.”

Scotland are currently preparing for Saturday’s match against the USA in Houston after opening their summer tour campaign with a 48-10 win over Canada in Edmonton.

With the World Cup in Japan just over a year away, Weir says the current crop of players could achieve something special, but says they will have to work hard to maintain the level they have set.

“I don’t know where the recipe is coming from but let’s hope it is a golden age,” said the former British and Irish Lion.

Doddie Weir played 61 times for Scotland between 1990 and 2000

“The team have been working hard to get here and it’s an exciting time. Sometimes getting to the top is easier because of the incentive but the hardest thing is to stay there.

“Let’s hope there are building blocks to keep the boys where they are at the moment. It can’t last forever unless you start rebounding and rethinking and bring on new players.

“What a year it’s been for Scottish rugby and let’s hope it continues until next year’s World Cup.”

‘I’ve still got a smile’

Just over 18 months ago, Weir was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and set up a foundation to raise awareness and funding to help research.

“I’m not too bad,” he said. “Other people maybe don’t have the luxury to be here 18 months after being diagnosed. I’m still here, driving, speaking, talking, dressed like a muppet at times, but with that I’ve still got a smile.

“I think maybe the reason behind that is the support that I’ve found. That’s given me a kick to keep going. My respite here is to try and help find a cure or a stoppage to this horrific disease that so many people have.”

Doddie Weir delivers match ball to an emotional Murrayfield

Weir’s message has also reached the world of golf, with his foundation