Seymour tells Glasgow to use lessons from the past

Glasgow's Tommy Seymour evades Montpellier's Ben Lucas in last year's Champions Cup.   Picture: SNS/SRU
Glasgow's Tommy Seymour evades Montpellier's Ben Lucas in last year's Champions Cup. Picture: SNS/SRU
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TOMMY Seymour has urged Glasgow to make use of the heartache and the joy of their run to last season’s first Pro12 play-off final to beat Bath at the Recreation Ground tomorrow and make history by making the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup for the first time.

There are a number of possible scenarios to the final outcome of Sunday’s pool stages but if leaders Toulouse (16 points) defeat also-rans Montpellier tomorrow, then they are likely to top the pool, while, if Guy Noves’ side flop against their fellow Frenchmen then either Glasgow (14) or Bath (15) could progress as pool winners.

Yet, should Toulouse triumph, whoever wins the battle of the Rec may not even progress as one of the best second-placed teams, depending on results in the other pools.

But, while the outcome of Glasgow’s bold bid to make European history will remain undecided until tomorrow afternoon, Seymour is certain that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune his side experienced last May en route to their Pro12 final defeat against Leinster, will stand the Warriors in good stead for the meeting with Mike Ford’s side.

“You learn from your experiences, whether they be good or bad.

“You learn how to react to situations, how you have reacted and how similar situations have gone in the past, so, 100 per cent, semi-finals and finals and being on the good side and being on the bad side and knowing what it is to be on the right side and what it took to be on the bad side all come into it,” said Seymour.

The Glasgow wing continued: “So you have got to look to these experiences as a group and build on them and it will all come into play in this situation.

“There is no doubt that we will definitely be using the joys and the heartaches of previous knockout matches to try to give us the best possible result tomorrow at the Rec.”

As he assessed his side’s chances of writing what would surely be the most glorious chapter in the club’s European annals to date, the articulate Seymour had no doubt about the importance of a good start against a Bath side who will be brimming with confidence after their demolition of Toulouse last week and thirsting to avenge their five-try drubbing by Warriors in the first meeting between the sides back in October at Scotstoun.

Seymour said: “It has definitely been a key message this week. Ideally, you want to start well in every game, there is a lock focus on the first 20 minutes but, especially coming into this game, away from home, against a side that likes to play an attacking brand, and effective attacking brand, of rugby, we definitely need to start out well against them.

“If we can go down there and impose ourselves on the game in the first 20 or 30 minutes and create a scenario where they feel they are not going to be able to play the kind of rugby they want to, it will put pressure on Bath.

“If every time they try to run it they come up against a defence that is as keen to defend their attack as they are to implement it, then that is a tough ask.

“So we have to impose ourselves in the first 30 minutes in our defence, but we also have to go out and attack them as well, give as good as we get and show the impetus we did in the first game against them.

“But we have not disguised, not put a cloak over our ambitions in terms of the European cup in any of the last three or four years that I have been here. It’s still in our hands, and we are not disguising it as anything other than our desire for this club to do something we have never done before.”

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend has sprung a number of surprises, some injury-forced at the most inopportune moment, in his selection for the Pool Four denouement, with captain Al Kellock restored at lock alongside Jonny Gray for his first European outing of the campaign.

But a makeshift back row, in which Leone Nakarawa continues on the blind-side and Richie Vernon replaces the injured Josh Strauss at No 8, has the biggest surprise of all at openside where former flanker Fraser Brown replaces Ryan Wilson at openside.

In the backs, Mark Bennett returns at outside centre for his first start since a hamstring injury nine weeks ago, while Henry Pyrgos is preferred at scrum-half to Niko Matawalu.

But Townsend has no doubt about what will be required at the Rec tomorrow: “I think the first game with Bath was up there as one of our best performances of the season, both in attack and defence, and these are the standards we need to repeat tomorrow.

“But it’s great to still be in contention to qualify going into the final round of games and we’ll probably have to produce our best performance of the season to win on Sunday.”

Bath

15 A Watson

14 H Agulla

13 J Joseph

12 K Eastmond

11 M Banahan

10 G Ford

9 C Cook

1 P James

2 R Webber

3 D Wilson

4 S Hooper (capt)

5 D Day

6 M Garvey

7 F Louw

8 L Houston

Subs

16 R Batty

17 N Auterac

18 H Thomas

19 D Attwood

20 C Fearns

21 P Stringer

22 O Devoto

23 S Burgess

Glasgow

15 S Maitland

14 T Seymour

13 M Bennett

12 A Dunbar

11 DTH van der Merwe

10 F Russell

9 H Pyrgos

1 G Reid

2 P MacArthur

3 M Cusack

4 J Gray

5 A Kellock (capt)

6 L Nakarawa

7 F Brown

8 R Vernon.

Subs

16 K Bryce

17 J Yanuyanutawa

18 J Welsh

19 J Eddie

20 S Lamont

21 N Matawalu

22 P Horne

23 P Murchie