SCOTLAND tryscorer Tommy Seymour was a swirling mix of emotions in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s dramatic 19-16 loss to France in Paris.
With the match kicking off at 9pm local time, it was after midnight when the Nashville-born wing spoke to the press deep in the bowels of the Stade de France and, while pleased to have come through his first game for over three months, the frustration that his 62nd-minute touchdown had not gone down as the moment Scotland ended their 16-year wait for a win in the French capital, was still raw.
“It was three months without a game so I was expecting a bit of rust,” said the 27-year-old. “I was happy to get through it and play 67 minutes. It was probably a mixed bag from me; I wasn’t happy with some aspects of my play in the first half, but that’s just about sharpening up and part and parcel of being a bit rusty.
“But I don’t want to make excuses because there were some things in there that I need to do better.
“On the whole, 67 minutes after three months off, I shook off a bit of rust and it is great to be back playing rugby with these boys and I’m looking forward to getting involved in the tournament.”
Before coming so close to winning the match with the try, Seymour had almost cost his side at a crucial moment before half-time when he was bounced out of the way by centre Wesley Fofana, who looked to have scored in the left corner only to be denied by an earlier forward pass. Seymour said: “Yes, I was disappointed with that. It was a simple error on my part. That is a bread-and-butter thing from me, something that I wouldn’t let happen when I was fresh last season. I’ve got to be hard on myself in those roles because that’s my responsibility.
“If it doesn’t work, there’s no-one else to blame but myself.
“I want to be hard on myself; I want to be critical of everything I do because the back three performed very well in the last three games and there is a lot of pressure to get in the team. Every time I go out I’ve got to make sure I’m not making these errors.
“I thought it was a try. The way my body was positioned I could not see what happened. I’m happy it wasn’t a try but it was one of those things you’ve got to brush off and let go. That’s what I said to myself afterwards. It was just about pressing the reset button and getting back into it. I’m not worried because of the practice I’ll have in the next couple of weeks.”
Of course it was disappointing to lose narrowly but, ultimately, despite the intensity of that pulsating final quarter, this was a warm-up Test and the main bonus was that Seymour, who had missed the whole summer with a tweaked back leading up to the match in Dublin, came through it.
“It was a hugely physical game but my back held up well. I was pleased it didn’t give me any problems at all. I’m not usually one for cramp, but that crept in a bit towards the end. If I can get more minutes under my belt that will improve. On the whole, it was a very physical game and I thought the pack and the guys inside me did a hell of a shift. I’m pleased I got through it and that everyone looks OK.”
Seymour had to do a lot of work to outsprint the covering Scott Spedding, but once he had got his left boot to the ball and left the full-back sprawling, it was one of the easier scores of his career.
He said: “We played well to get the turnover ball and it was great vision from Greig [Laidlaw] to put the kick in there. I just had to run in a straight line and hope that my legs took me there. It was about the intelligence of the kick; it wasn’t down to me.
“It wasn’t spectacular, but it was great to get over. I was scoring for this team and playing with these guys. It was fantastic to get something on my return.”