TOMMY Seymour believes Scotland will only become a threat on the global stage once they stop being pleased just to have avoided a hammering against the game’s big guns.
Scotland put on a mightily brave display as they held New Zealand at bay for large chunks of Saturday’s autumn Test at Murrayfield before losing 24-16.
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They even had a chance to put themselves on the brink of victory but saw skipper Greig Laidlaw pull his penalty wide before the all-conquering All Blacks stormed downfield to score the try which put the game out of sight.
The defeat means Scotland’s 109-year search for their first-ever win against the world champions goes on. But there were clear signs of progress in Vern Cotter’s young side as they came within 10 points of the southern hemisphere giants for the first time in 23 years.
However, Seymour - who scored his second intercept try in as many weeks to put the hosts 7-5 up after 12 minutes - insists if Scotland are just happy to come close, they will never find that elusive win.
The Glasgow wing - who also scored in the 41-31 win over Argentina last week - said: “We have to be pleased with the consistency levels we have shown over the last two weeks and we have to be pleased with the performance against New Zealand.
“But we have got to stop being a side that allows itself to take positives when you lose to the best team in the world, because if you do that you start drawing lines that you can’t cross.
“We can’t keep saying we are pleased with ‘this much’, because if you come up against a side and your only aim is to come up close, then it will never be good enough.
“We have to go out to win games and in a backwards kind of way, it is pleasing to be disappointed after Saturday’s result, because if it is a 30-point runaway, your disappointment only has one shade of grey. But the reason why we are disappointed after Saturday is because we were in a position to do more.
“We want to become a consistent threat and allow ourselves to be disappointed by the narrow margins, because once you do that you can really push on.”
The Scots were 16-17 down with 13 minutes left when Laidlaw was handed his chance to kick his country within touching distance of a famous win.
But the All Blacks seized on his lapse after sending the ball wide of the right-hand post and stormed into Scottish territory before Jeremy Thrush found a rare chink in the home defence and squeezed through for the match-winning try.
“It was an opportunity for us to make history and an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often,” said Seymour, who cancelled out Victor Vito’s opening score for the tourists.
“We spoke a lot about that before the game but didn’t let the occasion take over us. But at the same token, we didn’t let what a win could mean slip by. We wanted to go out and fight for a win that had never been done before.
“Unfortunately we came up just shy.
“There was a point in the game when we felt the momentum was swinging our way and that we could have gone for the win. But it wasn’t to be.”
Seymour may not want to reflect too long on the positives of another defeat but the signs of encouragement are starting to pile up for Cotter ahead of next year’s World Cup.
Under Scott Johnson last season, Scotland were twice thumped to nil at Murrayfield, first by South Africa and then by England.
But Cotter’s new-look team have a cutting edge and desire to take the chances that come their way.
Five tries against Argentina illustrated that perfectly while Seymour again leapt on an opposition mistake, this time by New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, to turn defence into lethal attack on Saturday.
“Like last week you go on instinct,” said Seymour. “I was watching Richie and he looked like he was keen to get the pass away. The ball was greasy so it’s not the easiest thing to fling around.
“I just managed to get my paw on it. It was a little bit lucky but unfortunately it couldn’t get us the win.”
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