Tommy Seymour is confident that Glasgow are in good shape both mentally and physically as they prepare for the Pro14 play-offs – and that they have learned the lessons of last season, when they qualified with months to spare only to fall flat in their home semi-final.
The Warriors winger himself feels particularly refreshed, having only returned to action in last week’s win over Ulster after an enforced break for a few weeks because of a rib injury acquired playing for Scotland against Wales. He is a little below peak match fitness, but has taken encouragement from how well rested he and his colleagues feel at a point in the season when fatigue is usually taking its toll.
“I feel OK, because I’ve been out for a few weeks and my lungs are still adjusting,” Seymour said. “But I’m pleased with the GPS stats I managed to cover on the weekend and felt relatively good.
“We know it’s a massive factor to have a home semi-final and have that chance to get a bit of extra rest in the legs as well. That’s a motivating factor. We’re feeling good and we’re confident and training very well, so I’d like to think we’re in a good place mentally as well as physically.”
Ensuring they get to play the penultimate round at Scotstoun is the primary focus for the Warriors as they approach the last two games of the regular season, and they will achieve their aim this weekend should they beat Leinster in Dublin and Munster lose at Benetton. But Seymour is well aware of how tough it will be for his team at the RDS, where they have not won in eight years, and does not see Leinster slacking off even though they had their conference in the bag some time ago.
“Leinster would be tricky regardless of what time of year it is. For us it’s a case of yes, we’ve got play-offs to think about and home semi-finals, but we also talk about the RDS and Leinster as a place where we have not won in a long time, and that would be really special for us.
“We’ve had a couple of occasions where we’ve come very close and then let leads slip. That’s a motivating factor regardless of anything else. Our players are keen to go over there to what is one of the top sides in Europe, see where we are and set a marker down for the rest of the tournament.
“I wouldn’t really expect [complacency] of a team like Leinster. But we’re using last year especially to where we were and what it meant for our run-in more. It’s a focusing factor for guys who hadn’t been part of it. It was important for us to realise the mistakes we made last year and where our mindset was, and how important it is to yes, achieve a home semi-final, but also to have the momentum and the confidence going into the play-off weeks.”
No-one connected with Glasgow wants to look much beyond Saturday’s match at the moment, but at the back of everyone’s mind is the fact this year’s final will take place at Celtic Park. “You don’t want to look too far down the road,” Seymour added. “The home semi-final is probably the most you can look at. But obviously it would be lovely to play in our home city – to allow our friends to experience a big game like that in our own city would be amazing.”
Glasgow, meanwhile, have signed tighthead prop Charlie Capps on a two-year deal. The 23-year-old is currently playing for Stade Nicois, the French side which Scottish Rugby has a stake in. He played previously for Yorkshire Carnegie in the English Championship and will move to Scotstoun in the summer.
Tighthead Adam Nicol, 21, has also signed a new two-year deal.