Tommy Seymour back injury ‘a blow’ admits Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend has named the team he hopes can topple Leicester. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS/SRU
Gregor Townsend has named the team he hopes can topple Leicester. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS/SRU
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Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend admitted ahead of tonight’s European Champions Cup Pool 1 opener against Leicester Tigers at Scotstoun that the loss of top tryscorer Tommy Seymour to a back injury is “a blow”.

The Warriors’ player of the month, who has already bagged seven tries in an electric start to the season, will not feature against the English heavyweights tonight, with Rory Hughes and Leonardo Sarto filling the wing berths.

“We are playing a very important game and somebody who is a key player for us, and in form, you would want available,” said Townsend after naming his team yesterday. “I am looking forward to seeing Rory Hughes and Leo [Sarto] playing. Tommy will work hard at being available sometime soon.

“He has a back injury that has bothered him from time to time both with us and with Scotland, it is just not right for this week. We will have to manage him and make sure that we don’t push him too much. Tommy was desperate to play this week but he was not able to run so we will see how it develops.”

On the other side of the injury coin, Tim Swinson returns and forms a second-row partnership with co-captain Jonny Gray.

“On Monday, we wondered if Tim was going to be right and then he started tackling people in a non-tackling session and we thought ‘he is okay’,” said Townsend with a smile. At centre, the coach has opted for a Sam Johnson-Alex Dunbar pairing, with Mark Bennett on the bench.

“Sam has earned his spot. He has played well. He played very well in the pre-season games and in the Leinster and Connacht games.

“Mark has probably not hit the form that we know he is capable of. He has had a different run into the season so he has to work hard to grab an opportunity if he comes off the bench.”

Johnson will be up against Australia star Matt Toomua, who will be making his highly-anticipated debut. Asked if he had expected the Wallaby, who has joined from the Brumbies, to play tonight, Townsend replied: “Yes, and then I started to second-guess myself. ‘No he is not, [Leicester coach] Richard Cockerill has mentioned him too much’. But he is playing...

“He has not played for a few weeks, he has obviously not played for Leicester so we will have to make sure that we put, not just him, but all that Leicester team under pressure so that they don’t get a chance to play the way they want to play.”