Tommy Seymour could barely hide his exasperation at being asked about whether Scotland’s recent World Cup escapade could have a positive effect on Glasgow Warriors’ imminent European Champions Cup campaign – which kicks off against Racing Metro at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir in north-west Paris on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors had 16 players in the national squad during the showcase event, plus a handful of players representing other nations, including Leone Nakarawa of Fiji, Simone Favaro of Italy and this week’s new signing, Shalva Mamukashvili of Georgia.
However, Seymour – who scored a try in each of his four appearances at the tournament – says that it is time to look forward and not backwards.
“I am sure [playing in the World Cup] does help, in terms of being involved in a pressurised environment with one game having such a bearing on another, and how you progress out of the group is a similar scenario maybe to Europe – but from my point of view, I want to put the World Cup to bed,” he stated.
“There was a large contingent of boys away with Scotland and with other sides. They all performed well and gained valuable experience but we are back in Glasgow mode now.
“There is a different thesis, the coaches bring in different ideas here compared with Scotland, we have to play the Glasgow game and right now it is about unifying under the Glasgow Warriors shirt not a Scotland shirt, a Fiji shirt, or an Italy shirt.
“Boys get confidence from results, yes, absolutely, but right now we are in Glasgow mode and the boys are not talking about the confidence they brought from the World Cup, it is about the confidence they have gained in the last two weeks playing in a Glasgow shirt.”
The livewire winger was clearly in a no-nonsense mood as he looked towards this weekend’s clash against the star-studded Parisian outfit – reflecting the deep-rooted determination within the squad to finally start replicating some of their recent successes in the Pro 12 at European level.
Racing 92 have lost only one of their previous seven Champions Cup games and have won their last three pool matches on home soil, while the Warriors have won just three of their last 14 matches against French opponents and only seven of the 50 away games they have played altogether in the Champions Cup – but Seymour says that his side have nothing to fear in a pool which also contains Northampton Saints and the Scarlets.
“We are looking forward to it as Europe is always an exciting time. We have had two good results in the pro 12 in the last two weeks and although performance-wise we probably have not been where we would have wanted to be, getting those [league] points has given us a lot of confidence,” he explained.
“There are a few things to tighten up, especially after last week, but Europe always has a great buzz about it so the trip to Paris should be a lot of fun.”
While Dan Carter has not yet returned from New Zealand to link up with his new team-mates at Racing 92, there is no shortage of big-name players in the home roster, including French powerhouse Yannick Nyanga, Welsh second-row Luke Charteris, and former All Blacks Chris Masoe, Joe Rokocoko and Casey Laulala. However, Welsh scrum-half Mike Phillips, Argentinean paceman Juan Imhoff and Italian prop Martin Castrogiovanni have not been named in the squad for this match.
“We are well accustomed to this tournament and the quality of sides we will face. We are used to playing against the likes of Drew Mitchell and Bryan Habana – against top quality sides in the French leagues with the money they invest and the quality of their players and their depth – but I believe we have the calibre of players to go out and compete with these guys. Fingers crossed we get things right across in Paris and get off to a good start,” insisted Seymour.
“The guys have played in Europe enough to know what to expect. There is confidence amongst this group of players that this is something we need to do – to step up to. We know if we play the rugby we can really play we can turn over the group and progress.”