IT’S DIFFICULT to think of a Scotland try scored outside the country that has produced a louder response than when Tommy Seymour dived over at the Gallowgate End of St James’ Park last Saturday.
The Nashville-born wing raised the roof as the Scots battled in vain to claw back the dominant Springboks at the home of Newcastle United. This week they return to the same venue to complete their Pool B campaign against the Samoans. The Scots will enjoy the backing of a bigger chunk of the crowd this weekend, and Seymour insisted there was more to come from the side as they look to nail a quarter-final spot.
“We have done a lot of positive things but I think there’s absolutely the sense and the feeling there’s much more to come from this team,” said the 27-year-old, who qualifies for Scotland through his Glaswegian mother.
“There is a clinical side to this squad and you saw that in the way we scored our tries in the first two games [against Japan and USA].
“There are tries in this team and we’ve great confidence in the boys’ abilities. It’s an exciting group to be a part of and, when you look around, you are excited by what you see. Yet there is no doubt we haven’t come close to peaking as a set of players and that can only spur us on. It’s about squeezing every last ounce of effort and ability out of ourselves against Samoa.”
Seymour now has nine tries in 20 caps and is one of a number of lethal finishers Scotland have at its disposal in the backline.
“It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet but there’s more I could be doing and there’s more we as a team could be doing,” said the Glasgow Warrior.
“Although we’ve had a lot of positives from scoring a lot of tries in the first two games, I still think this is a group of players that expects more from themselves.
“We haven’t played as a team for 80 minutes and that’s something we’re targeting this weekend, we’ve got another opportunity and it’s well overdue.
“The guys who go out will be looking to do it consistently for 80 minutes.
“It’s one of those things we’ve talked about because it’s been relevant after our first three matches.
“There’s no definitive answer to solving the problem otherwise we’d go out there and do it. There needs to be a real focus on what we do when we get it right and what we do when we get it wrong.”
Seymour loved that try last weekend and, if selected, is relishing another taste of the St James’ roar.
He said: “The support has been humbling and hugely satisfying, it really spurs us on.
“It can take you to another level, especially when you’re tiring.
“We’ve been fortunate in the sense that the Scottish support has been incredible in the venues we’ve played and it will be the same again at the weekend.
“It feels like we’re playing home games and to recreate that outside of Murrayfield is a very special thing.
“The fans should be really proud but like the players I sense there’s more to come from them.”
Seymour sees similarities between Saturday’s Samoa showdown and his club Glasgow’s Guinness Pro12 final at the end of the season. On that evening in Belfast, Gregor Townsend’s men earned plaudits for the way they played the match rather than the occasion and, while saying that is the approach required, the throughtful Seymour views it in slightly more nuanced terms.
He said: “You’ve got to focus. You hear boys say it’s one game at a time and it has to be that way.
“You try and distance yourself from the outside and what is happening around you. We will be doing all we can to stay focused on the game.
“All that being said, at the back of your mind there has to be an understanding and appreciation of what you’re taking part in and what’s at stake.
“Those small things can impact in a positive way in terms of people delivering when it matters.
“There is a lot at stake and you have to bear that in mind. You have to concentrate on that aspect.
“Of course, you have to play the game like it’s any other game of rugby, because you can’t lose your head, that’s for sure.”
Head coach Vern Cotter will name his team and replacements at St James’ Park this morning and, with veteran wing Sean Lamont on the brink of his 100th Scotland cap, Seymour spoke in glowing terms of his team-mate, friend, mentor and sometime positional rival.
“I’m sure it will be marked if it comes, how it will be marked will not be decided by me,” said Seymour of the moment when Lamont becomes Scotland’s second centurion alongside Chris Paterson.
“It probably won’t happen until after the game, fingers crossed that’s a win because it would make the occasion more eventful. I don’t know if he’ll play or not, but if he gets it then it’s an incredible achievement from a guy who thoroughly deserves it.
“What he’s done and provided for this team and for this country has been remarkable.
“He’s one of the most special guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with.
“To be in his condition at his age and still to be playing international rugby is testament to the man.”