Tommy Seymour missed Glasgow’s 38-17 defeat by Munster back in October with injury and illness and, though he has heard accounts from team-mates, believes it was a day when you had to be there to appreciate its magnitude.
Munster were fired up to pay tribute to their coach and former player Anthony Foley, who had tragically died suddenly aged 42 the weekend before. On an afternoon of incomparable intensity, the Irish province blew Glasgow away to provide the only dent in the Warriors’ European Champions Cup campaign this season, which still holds the promise of a possible first ever quarter-final berth.
The Irishmen now visit Glasgow on Saturday evening for a huge return fixture looking to protect their three-point Pool 1 lead over the Scots. And while Seymour, who signed a two-year extension to his contract yesterday, is relishing one of the biggest games of his career, if selected, he knows it will not quite be at the fever pitch of Limerick.
“I didn’t take part in the game, but it was a very special and unique one,” said Seymour.
“No one person outside the stadium would be able to properly articulate or describe what the atmosphere was like inside that stadium so for me to try to do it would be unfair.
“Given the tragedy which occurred, Munster responded in the best way they possibly could and you can only take your hats off to them.
“They went out there and put in one hell of a performance under an extraordinary amount of pressure in front of a crowd which was hungry for the same thing the players wanted.
“The rugby world came together to watch that game and knew what it meant.
“There was massive pressure on us but through no fault of anyone, that match created an atmosphere which was heavily dependant on the home side getting the win.
“Our guys went out and played well, you can never fault their effort but it was always going to be difficult.”
It would be fair to assume that Munster can’t possibly approach this weekend with quite the same levels of adrenaline but that is not something Seymour feels is his place to comment upon.
“It would be wrong of me to speak about Munster. I don’t want to assess how they’ve approached games since the tragedy. That’s up to them,” he added.
“Munster have been kings of Europe for a very long time, they’ve always been very strong.
“It’s one of the hardest places to visit and one of the hardest teams to play against.
“On their own merits and regardless of everything else, they are notoriously hard to play against. They have obviously had a galvanising effect [since Foley’s death], they wouldn’t say it nor would they have wanted it.
“They have used that to drive themselves forward and have put in some terrific performances since. It will take an equally terrific performance for us to stop them.”
Seymour was part of the Glasgow team who beat Munster in his old stomping ground of Belfast to lift the 2015 Guinness Pro12 trophy and he accepts that making the big leap forward in Europe is now the main driving force at Scotstoun.
The winger said: “Without a doubt it is vital to qualify. It is vital every year. You can’t dress it up any other way. You can’t say this year we are not fans of Europe or we don’t fancy it and will concentrate on the league.
“It is something we put a lot of focus on and never shy away from saying how important it is for us and how much we want to be part of the last eight and what doing that will mean to us.
“With regard to our previous years not to qualify, it comes largely down to the fact we cannot make up the time later on, we can’t get those points back, it is a knockout competition pretty much from the word go.
“You lose one or two matches and you are resigned to the fact it is not going to be your year. There is so much pressure stacked on each game. If you look in years gone past we have put in huge performances, performances of a side that could easily have made the last eight.
“However stringing them together and compiling these wins back to back in Europe is something we struggle with. We cannot dress that up any other way. We have come down to the wire on a couple of occasions.”
In recent seasons Glasgow’s hopes of progessing through the pool stage of one of world sport’s most testing competition have been harmed by early home losses to the likes of Northampton and Toulouse.
This term they have enjoyed rousing wins over Leicester Tigers and Racing 92 and will be looking to keep the Fortress Scotstoun bandwagon rolling on Saturday night.
“We have managed to string results together, we have shown we have the capability of beating these quality sides in Europe,” said Seymour.
“It’s not been a problem beating them, it’s just that we haven’t done it on a regular enough basis.
“It’s been the back to back games where we have had our notorious slips. We then put a serious amount of pressure on our last two games.
“But to beat Racing back to back this season is massive, going to Paris and winning with the great record they have is an achievement on its own.
“That was a historic win for the club.
“We need to focus on what our pitfalls in recent seasons have been and not allow them to swap over into these last two games as that’s where we’ve been strong in recent seasons.”