Tommy Seymour can see similarities with Connacht’s surge to a first-ever Guinness Pro12 play-off spot and Glasgow’s historic title win last year but hopes the Irish province’s fairytale goes no further.
The Warriors wing, who was yesterday named in Scotland’s touring squad for Japan, will put the land of the rising sun to the back of his mind for the time being as he contemplates a swift return to the milder climes of Galway a week on Saturday.
The reigning champions’ 14-7 defeat at the Sportsground last weekend means they will return for a semi-final against Pat Lam’s shock troops with a place in the final at BT Murrayfield the tantalising prize on offer.
Former Ulster player Seymour is full of admiration for what Connacht have achieved by finishing second at the end of the regular season and said: “It’s not too dissimilar to us last year. We never had a championship side before or was thought that could compete for a title.
“They maybe have the same sort of doubters that we had and they’ll be keen to put that right. As a squad when you hear things like that it can be a real strength that drives you forward. We have to be well aware of their mental approach and what their outlook on things will be.”
Connacht have always been the poor relations of Irish rugby behind the big three provinces of Leinster, Munster and Ulster and Seymour added: “I’d hate to put words in their mouths but I’d imagine with the history and the way things have panned out for them they’ve always maybe felt in the shadows of Leinster, Munster and Ulster.
“They’ll be keen to get out of that shadow and I think they’ve done that this season. They deserve all the accolades coming their way.”
Since the start of the play-offs system no team has won an away semi-final and, while Seymour is confident that Glasgow can buck that trend, he doesn’t underestimate the test that lies ahead. “Certainly it’s easy to come off the park and say ‘right, we know exactly what to do next time’ because Connacht will come away and analyse the game as much as we do and ask themselves what they can do better to expose us,” said the Nashville-born 27-year-old.
Seymour was speaking in Dublin after picking up the award for Pro12 try of the season at Sunday night’s black-tie dinner in the Guinness Storehouse. His score in the 27-17 win over Ulster at Scotstoun in March, when he took a crossfield kick from Finn Russell at full steam and powered over from distance won the fans’ poll.
“I only played a small part in how the try played out,” said Seymour. “It was more to do with Finn’s ability to get that ball across the park having taken a difficult pass and Duncy Weir for noticing and pointing out [that such a play could be profitable] at half-time. I’ll collect the award on behalf of all three of us.”