Winger Tommy Seymour believes it would be foolish to regard Samoa as one-trick wrecking balls and is expecting a tough encounter on Saturday when Scotland’s autumn Test series kicks off at BT Murrayfield.
Most of the hype surrounding this month’s three internationals has surrounded the upcoming matches against world champions New Zealand and the third-ranked Wallabies but Seymour insists Scotland are not treating the Pacific Islanders as a mere warm-up act.
“The obvious one is that they are hugely physical,” said the prolific 29-year-old, who will be looking to win his 36th cap at the weekend and add to his impressive haul of 16 Test tries.
“They have some incredible athletes across the park but it’s not just the size – it’s the agility and the capacity to be athletic. We’ve had a couple of really close games against Samoa, especially in the World Cup pool game [in 2015]. We don’t expect any different from them this weekend. We’re under no illusion about how difficult it will be.
“People pick up that physicality and the big hits because it’s the most obvious thing about their game but they have a lot of subtlety to their game too.
“There are a lot of guys who play in our league so I know them on a club level, and there are some class rugby players in there who know how to play the game, who are about more than banging through and bruising bodies, who really do like to play and expansive and entertaining brand of rugby.”
Seymour scored Scotland’s opening try in that tense 36-33 win in Newcastle two years ago, which secured Vern Cotter’s men a place in the World Cup quarter-finals but he admitted it was a nerve-wracking afternoon as the already-eliminated Samoans cut loose.
“You’re telling me! Although you’re probably more nervous in the stands,” he said.
“That first half we couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm. We’d do something well but then they’d put us back under the cosh.
“Their ability with their big athletes is that, if they do get across that [gain] line, then their ability as athletes and their subtleties do come to the fore, and they can certainly put you to the sword if they get a chance. But we go into this game knowing what we’re facing.”
Seymour is happy to be back in Scotland colours after spending the summer on the Lions tour, which he ended as top tryscorer, although he never made the Test squad.
He relished that experience but admitted he missed being involved as the Gregor Townsend era got under way with Scotland’s trips to Singapore, Australia and Fiji.
“It was hard not being involved, weirdly enough. I was on a great platform, but I was watching the guys I’ve spent a lot of time with over the past few years having a couple of great results in the summer.
“The Australia result in particular was phenomenal and it would have been great to be a part of that.
“But it was good just watching it and seeing the guys stretch themselves and get an awesome result.
“I spoke to Hoggy [fellow Lion Stuart] and I know it really lifted his spirits to be there and to celebrate with them.”
Seymour believes it is important that the world game supports the likes of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga and hopes to get a chance to face them on their patch.
“I absolutely agree. The first year I came to Glasgow was the summer tour to Samoa, Fiji and Australia and guys to this day talk about it as their favourite tour.
“I was delighted to be a part of the Lions, but before that came up I had looked at the tour schedule and said it would be amazing to go to Fiji. The boys love going to these countries.”