It is just as well that Tommy Seymour’s feathers are not easily ruffled because the BBC commentator last weekend had a good go at doing just that. Throughout the first half of the Wales game, Eddie Butler continually referred to the Scotland winger as “Tommy Boyd”. Every time he did so his co-commentator Chris Paterson would pointedly refer to “Tommy Seymour” but his heavy hints fell on deaf ears. You have to hope that the spirit of the meticulous Bill McLaren saw the funny side because Seymour, capped 34 times for Scotland, seems to have.
“I put up a tweet saying: “Oh Boyd, we enjoyed that,” says the winger more in jest than anger. “I have about three followers, Hoggy has about 56 (thousand). My mum, my sister, my brother would have had a chuckle at mine. The rest would have a chuckle at his.
“Of course I had a laugh at it. It was funny. Mate I have no idea who he was thinking of?
“You have to find it more funny than anything else. I certainly don’t worry if he gets my name wrong on television. I put more blame on Mossy [Paterson] than him. Maybe Mossy was enjoying the mistake a bit more.”
Seymour, Boyd and the remainder of the Scotland squad find themselves in uncharted territory. Three games down, enjoying the second break in the Six Nations, Scotland are still in contention for the Calcutta Cup, the Triple Crown and, whisper it, even the Six Nations championship itself. If you don’t need a stiff drink after that reality dawns then you haven’t been following Scottish rugby for as long as the rest of us.
The last time Scotland beat England at Twickenham in 1983 the BBC coverage of the game was followed by The Dukes of Hazzard, which should give you some sort of idea of the time scale involved not to mention the scale of the challenge confronting this squad next weekend.
England are not only looking for another win over the Scots, victory next Saturday would mean that Eddie Jones’ team will have equalled New Zealand’s 18-game winning streak in tier one international rugby; it only adds further zest to what is traditionally a spicy encounter.
“History is always going to come up and be a timeline back in 1983 in many articles,” says Seymour. “We have to ignore history and focus on where we are at the moment. It is a big opportunity for us.
“It’s not about trying to disrupt England. We can’t do anything about their run. We just have to worry about being in contention for a Triple Crown, Calcutta Cup and after that we will see what happens.
“Last time we were at Twickenham I think we were leading at half-time for the first time in how many years? We know we are capable of going places and playing but you have got to shift away from thinking ‘we are home; we are away’, more about what we do on the paddock as a team.
“We have to take the stadium, take the crowd out of it and make it about what we do as a 23-man group on that day. There are two sets of posts and a green field and if we continue to play the way we have regardless of where we are, then we give ourselves chances to win games.”
Seymour’s try against Wales appeared to be the catalyst that galvanised the Scots last weekend, although it wasn’t his most impressive moment. A little later in the second half the winger was chasing a high kick and threw himself athletically at the ball which appeared to have crossed the line to palm it back into Scottish hands. It was symptomatic of the effort employed by this team that there is no such thing as a lost cause.
The prolific winger once scored five tries in consecutive internationals and the fact that both wide men grabbed touchdowns against Wales tells you something about how this Scotland squad are going about their business.
The word that Seymour continually drops into conversation is “fun” and why not? Scotland are playing good rugby that is easy on the eye and effective to boot. The winger has nothing but praise for the young half-backs, Ali Price and Finn Russell, whose understanding and control proved crucial against Wales and he laughs off Jones’ claims that Scotland are the ones with a “burden of expectation” on their back as typical of the mind games that England’s Australian coach likes to indulge in.
After a good first half against Ireland and a good second half last weekend, Seymour is aware that it will take more than 40 minutes to win next weekend.
“It has not come together for 80 [minutes] and we need to get closer and closer to the entire 80 minutes especially against teams like England who are on 17 in a row now and are sitting second in the world [rankings], have not been beaten in a very, very long time,” says the unruffled winger.
“We will take it as it comes.”