Tommy Seymour is enjoying his joust with Stuart Hogg in the Scotland try-scorers’ list but is adamant that it is a race he is destined to ‘lose’ in the end.
“He [Hogg] has got a few years on me. Over the long run there’s not going to be too much competition,” said Glasgow wing Seymour, who is now tied on 19 in joint fourth with his clubmate.
Seymour had leapt above the 26-year-old full-back with an autumn hat-trick against Fiji but Hogg drew level again behind only Ian Smith, Tony Stanger and Chris Paterson with his score in the 33-20 win over Italy at the weekend.
“We enjoy it now. Hoggy and I can have a bit of fun with it,” said Seymour. “We are level-pegging now. He was winding me up and I was winding him up. His second try was chalked off at the weekend which was very unlucky for him because it was a fantastic finish, but that’s maybe given me a little bit of an opportunity!
“We have some fun with it, but the main thing is that we play well as a team and that we are scoring tries, wherever they come from. If we are playing the kind of rugby we want to, we are in a good position.”
Last Saturday it was on the opposite left wing that the opportunities arose, with Blair Kinghorn the wing to profit as he joined the hat-trick club, although a more exclusive one as it was the first by a Scot in the Six Nations and first in the championship since Iwan Tukalo against Ireland in 1989.
“He played well, didn’t he?” said Seymour of the 22-year-old. “Obviously, you want to be getting across for tries, so I’d have loved a try myself, but the really pleasing thing is we played some really good stuff.
“I can honestly say I’m chuffed for the guy. He played a brilliant game and took the chances he was provided with really well. He’s the first Scotsman to score a hat-trick in the Six Nations, so brilliant for the young fella to get an achievement like that and get in the history books.”
With Sean Maitland coming back into the picture this week, wing is one of the interesting selection issues ahead of head coach Gregor Townsend’s team announcement today for Saturday’s massive test against defending champions Ireland, who will be looking to get their campaign back on track after losing their opener at home to England.
Seymour is focused on Scotland upping their game from the Italy performance, when three Italy tries took the gloss off what was, otherwise, a positive and comfortable afternoon’s work.
“I think we’d certainly take that we did a lot of really good things,” said the 30-year-old. “I think certainly for the first 65 minutes I thought we showed some really good play. Did a lot of things well. I thought we were accurate in a lot of the things we were trying to do. Good sparks of creativity. And we obviously got the bonus point wrapped up as well, which was awesome.
“And then, on the flip side of that, those last 15 minutes were very disappointing. It’s something we’ve looked at as being quite strong normally, in the last 20 minutes. It’s something we pride ourselves on. So to concede the points we did in the last 15 minutes is disappointing. We probably found ourselves chasing them round the park a little bit, which wasn’t great. It’s probably a good thing for us. With the first 65 minutes going so well, it gave us a reality check. It brings us back down to earth a little bit about things that can go wrong if we’re not fully switched on or we start to think the job’s done.
“Credit to Italy – they played some really good stuff. But certainly from our perspective it’s something we can use this week, because Ireland will bring that intensity for 80 minutes plus. We’ll be conscious of that.”
Scotland proved their potency again with five excellent tries against the Italians but that late dip has left a sour taste, although Seymour insisted that it wasn’t something the players were overly dwelling on.
“To be honest with you, we haven’t focused on it too much,” he said. “We’ve tried to take a look at the good things we’ve done, how we’re going to move that to this week. But it’s a different week. “That game’s now in the history books and we’re on to Ireland.
“Maybe we lost shape a little bit. With the yellow card as well, we were a man down. We looked at a couple of things where maybe we made the wrong read, the wrong decision at a particular point and gave them probably an easy out. But, as I said, we’ve not put too much emphasis on it because what we really want to concentrate on is us and how we can formulate a plan going forward to Ireland.
“We like to play rugby. We like our wide men to get their hands on the ball and exploit space. It’s certainly something we will look to if the space and the opportunities are there. “But it’s not something we will do at every opportunity because [Ireland] are very good at making you think that there is space there and getting you to run down a blind alley.”
Nashville-born Seymour, who has a Glaswegian mother, grew up in Northern Ireland and his rugby career began at Ulster but he insisted he didn’t view the prospect of facing the men in green jerseys with any special significance.
“For me, it has never really entered my head. It is just another game, albeit a massive game,” said the man who was top scorer on the Lions tour of New Zealand two years ago,
“There is always an element of wanting to prove myself. But the people I want to prove myself to are the Scottish guys. As a player, you always want to prove yourself, prove your worth and do things that can help make the team better, but it’s the ones you’re with you want to do it for.”