TOMMY Seymour refutes any suggestion that Glasgow have bigger fish to fry than the 1872 Cup these days and insists they are fired up to regain the trophy.
The Warriors made history with their Guinness Pro12 title triumph last season and are in the midst of a battle to break new ground by making the European Champions Cup quarter-finals, but the Scotland wing is adamant that getting one over on their inter-city rivals – starting tomorrow at BT Murrayfield – means a lot to him and his team-mates.
Asked if the east-west showdown had slipped down Glasgow’s priority list, Seymour said: “I would completely disagree with that. Edinburgh are just two points behind us in the league at the moment so if we don’t perform in these two games we will be further down the table. Yes, we have a game in hand, but Edinburgh will be looking at these games to get themselves up the table.
“Edinburgh are very strong. They have the best defence in the league. They have conceded the fewest tries, so breaking them down is going to be incredibly difficult. If we have aspirations to be in the top four then these games are absolutely crucial.”
The Nashville-born 27-year-old, who has scored 14 tries for Scotland and touched down in his last five consecutive Test appearances, is equally defiant when it is suggested the Warriors were perhaps a little complacent last season when they allowed Edinburgh to turn them over 26-24 on aggregate to lift the trophy.
“Absolutely not. I don’t think complacency is something the squad will ever be guilty of,” said Seymour. “It was a flat performance, you get performances like that, but you also have to give Edinburgh credit for playing well.
“If you look at our performances over the last number of seasons, complacency is not something you could accuse this squad of being.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to play. We were a little bit flat, unfortunately you get games like that, and it was even more unfortunate that it happened then. But credit where credit is due: Edinburgh played better than us and that’s why they got the win. We will need to do better this year.”
Seymour has been at Glasgow for over four years now and has noticed an exponential rise in the rivalry’s intensity.
“Absolutely. I think that’s down to a multitude of things,” he said. “The awareness of rugby in both cities has grown and the following for both teams has increased. When you get both together it is becomes a heated contest. Everyone loves rivals – two Scottish cities going at each other.
“Our move to Scotstoun has obviously helped things a great deal because we have created a real home for ourselves. The fans take pride in that because it is their home as well. Year on year, our crowds for every game have lifted.
“Murrayfield is on target for 20,000 or thereabouts [tomorrow], so Edinburgh will have a really strong following at home, though it is a vast stadium and it is a lot easier to fill Scotstoun and create a home atmosphere.”
Of course, the many Glasgow Warriors players who also play for Scotland are more familiar with the national stadium than their Edinburgh counterparts are with Scotstoun where the second leg will be played on 2 January.
But Seymour added: “It is an away game, first and foremost, for a lot of our guys. Edinburgh will be comfortable with the fact that that is their home right now and they will want to protect it.”