TOMMY Seymour has dismissed suggestions that Glasgow are firm favourites to retain their hold on the 1872 Cup, despite the fact Edinburgh have posted only four Guinness Pro12 victories this season and last wrested the famous old trophy from the Warriors’ iron grip back in 2009.
Instead, Seymour believes that Edinburgh know that the pressure to retain the trophy and an expectancy that a five-year home hegemony of the club game’s oldest piece of silverware will be extended once again, are all weighing heavily on the Warriors’ shoulders, which will in turn allow the capital club to play with a freedom and verve that will make them dangerous opponents.
It is for that reason that the Warriors winger bridled at claims that Alan Solomons’ men must be viewed as underdogs, even though they trail Glasgow by 15 points in the Guinness Pro12 table and have not won in the West of Scotland since they claimed a 25-16 success at Hughenden, on 27 December, 2003.
“If anything, they go into this game as hot favourites to cause an upset. By the same token we will be doing everything in our power to maintain that dominance we have had over the past number of years. It is a toe to toe, equal match and it is going to be a great game of rugby,” said Seymour.
“In terms of who the pressure is on, well, you could argue both ways. It is nice we have the advantage of playing at home and that we have the record with us, but if there is a slight underdogs title, which I don’t like, the underdogs tend to be the most powerful. They have nothing in their mind to lose. They want to make the breakthrough and nothing else matters.
“Yes, it has been a while since they won it but every record comes to an end eventually and they will be determined to make that happen this year, so we have to be very wary of them and forget about bias, expectation and league positions. That doesn’t come into the equation. I am not in the Edinburgh camp but I am sure that is the way they will look at it.
“They will be gunning for us. With the victory they had last week (48-0 v Treviso) their confidence will be right up there. They had a great session in Europe after the autumn internationals and kept it going against Treviso. Their confidence is flying high at the moment, so if anything Edinburgh will fancy their chances more than any other time before.”
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Traditionally the annual derby encounter between Scotland’s two professional sides is seen as a trial for Scotland RBS Six Nations jerseys but this time direct confrontations between those qualified to wear the dark blue are few and far between.
Yet Seymour’s likely match-up against Edinburgh’s Tim Visser does have the whiff of a battle of the flying Scotsmen about it, even if the duo are of the naturalised version rather than the born and bred variety.
But the Warriors wing was wary of indulging in any pre-battle hyperbole: “Players often have match-ups every week regardless who they are playing. They like to look at their opposite number and how they can do against them and how they can show them up and how they can come out the better of the two at the end of the game,” said the 26 year-old.
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“That is heightened regardless of qualification for countries but it is heightened in the Edinburgh derby because it is two Scottish teams going toe to toe and of course there is a cup involved.
“So those things come into play regardless whether you are Scottish or not; you are under no illusions how important this game is to the two sides.
“I can’t speak for everyone. From the vibe in the camp the boys don’t look on this game individually. We look at some of their players, as we do in other teams, because of the talents they bring to the park and the threats that they bring.
“Certainly players don’t go in individually looking at their own goals. The problem with that is if you go in looking to put down an individual marker or try to put one over it can leads to upsetting the systems or game plans which can cause problems rather than benefits.
“It is two teams with a lot of talented individuals who want to go out and play good rugby and there is a lot of expectation on their shoulders because of the occasion.”
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