Belfast Telegraph

Tommy Seymour is driven on by painful final memories

Guinness PRO12, Sportsground, Galway 25/4/2015
Connacht vs Glasgow Warriors Glasgow's Tommy Seymour scores their fifth try of the game Mandatory Credit ?INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Guinness PRO12, Sportsground, Galway 25/4/2015 Connacht vs Glasgow Warriors Glasgow's Tommy Seymour scores their fifth try of the game Mandatory Credit ?INPHO/Ryan Byrne

By Michael Sadlier

The accent is, well, as elusive as he aims to be on the pitch and is an intriguing twang of several locations which is appropriate really as Tommy Seymour has certainly done more than his fair share of moving around.

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His first nine years were spent in the USA - he was born in Nashville, Tennessee - and were followed by a stint in Dubai before English father Ian's job brought the family to these parts and the young Seymour hitched up at Down High School where he was introduced to the game.

And allied to all that is a touch of a Scots lilt as well thanks to the 26-year-old's four years in Glasgow where the winger has starred for the Warriors and broken through to the national side - he qualifies through his Glaswegian mother Sue - with 17 Tests and six tries to his name.

Not bad at all for a player who found there was no breakthrough moment for him at Ulster where Neil Doak had first spotted him as a promising youngster and diverted his plans to attend university in Scotland by offering him a place in the province's academy.

Several years later he was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure and took a chance when an offer came from Glasgow in 2011. It has proved the making of him and he has become an integral part of the squad now coached by Gregor Townsend.

Though Scotland have shown no signs of recovery under new man in charge Vern Cotter, the Warriors have still managed to stand out as a notably improving side and have been knocking on the door for silverware in the PRO12 where they have now managed five out of six top four play-offs.

They lost their first final appearance last season to Leinster, but the experience has only whetted the Warriors' appetite to finally get their hands on the trophy.

Losing at the Ospreys last weekend wasn't part of the plan, though. A win would have pretty much granted Glasgow a home semi-final but on a foul night, during which Seymour saw little action, they tripped up badly.

Now, Seymour knows that a bonus-point win on Saturday over his former employers will guarantee them a top-two finish and with it being at their Scotstoun fortress, where they haven't lost a PRO12 game since November 2013, there is confidence in the air. Even so, experience has taught Seymour that nothing can be taken for granted.

"We've got a huge task ahead of us," he says. "We've ticked a few boxes in terms of consistency and we're pleased with that aspect."

With all four teams still in with a shout of banking a home semi-final in this Saturday's final round of regular games, it will be a nerve-shredding experience for the sides involved.

And with no away side having yet managed to triumph in the semis since the format was introduced in 2009-10, the need to take ownership of a top-two finish is all the more important.

"We've had massive games in our finish, two away from home (Connacht which was won and the Ospreys which wasn't) and we've now got to perform (against Ulster)," Seymour continued.

"It doesn't really matter about form going into it (the knockout stages).

"Against Leinster (in last year's final) we didn't reach the same standards that we had managed going into it.

"Form went out the window and they were used to competing in finals and at their home ground as well.

"We just dropped in our form and it was a bitter pill to swallow. You have that one game and that one game only."

And he smiles at the prospect of getting to another final and trotting out to play it at the Kingspan Stadium.

"It would be nice," he admits. "I would be lying if I said I didn't have an extra motivation because of where it is. But it's just about getting on with it. That's where the final will be held and that's where we want to get to."

Should they do it, of course, that shoot-out for silverware could still be against Ulster which again prompts a grin and a response.

"We're not scared of saying that we'd love to be going to Belfast for the final."

At least the family's backing is assured on Saturday as will be the case should there be another clash for ownership of the trophy in Belfast.

"The parents support the son," says Seymour. "And my fiancee's parents (she hails from Ballymena) would be supporting Glasgow as well," he maintains before adding, "And if they don't I want them to keep schtum."

Belfast Telegraph


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