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I've got nothing to prove to Ulster or Ireland: Tommy Seymour



Running man: Scotland ace Tommy Seymour in action against Italy

Running man: Scotland ace Tommy Seymour in action against Italy

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Running man: Scotland ace Tommy Seymour in action against Italy

While there are set to be plenty of key battles all over a windswept Murrayfield this afternoon when Ireland meet Scotland (2.15pm kick-off), for Ulster fans there is little doubt that the most enjoyable will be down the hosts' left wing.

Two products of the province's Academy will be going head-to-head - naturally a real oddity in Test-level rugby - as Jacob Stockdale and Tommy Seymour are pitched in direct opposition.

Stockdale's try-scoring feats in the green jersey, especially in this Championship last year, have granted him the reputation as one of the world's most dangerous wingers.

Seymour, though, has been no slouch himself since throwing his lot in with Scotland.

Born in Tennessee, USA, the 30-year-old also spent a part of his childhood in Dubai before arriving in Northern Ireland in time for secondary school.

A product of Down High in Downpatrick, he was drafted into the Ulster Academy from there, going on to make a handful of appearances for the senior side where Andrew Trimble had one wing spot nailed down and Craig Gilroy was emerging onto the scene.

The log-jam saw him move to Pro12 rivals Glasgow - the city where his mother was born - in time for the 2011-12 season. From there, he hasn't looked back.

Having made his national bow on a summer tour to South Africa in 2013, he now sits on the cusp of a half century of caps, in a tie for fifth all-time on Scotland's try-scoring charts with his back-three mate Stuart Hogg.

His international career includes not only a tour with the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand two years ago - where he scored four tries in the midweek games - but an impressive turn at the 2015 World Cup.

A Pro12 medal, won in Belfast thanks to Glasgow's final victory over Munster at Kingspan Stadium, is another memento earned since his move across the water.

With all that he's achieved, it's no surprise that, despite representing Ireland at Under-19 level, days like today don't leave him wondering what might have been.

"You guys in the media have probably wanted to get more out of it, but for me it has never really entered my head," he said this week in Scotland.

"There is always an element of wanting to prove myself, but the people I want to prove myself to are the Scottish guys - my team-mates here, my coaches, that's who I want to prove myself to.

"As a player, you always want to prove yourself, prove your worth and do things that can help make the team better."

Unlike Hogg, he didn't manage to bag a try in last week's opener against the Italians, but even if he manages one today he laughs that he doesn't think he'll stay level-pegging in the charts with the two-time Player of the Tournament for long.

"Hoggy's got a few years on me, and over the long run I don't think there's going to be much competition for the record," admitted the man four years his fullback's senior. "But we enjoy it now, we're level-pegging at the moment and Hoggy and I can have a bit of fun with it.

"He likes winding me up and I was winding him up about his second try which was chalked off at the weekend. That was very unlucky for him because it was a fantastic finish, but it's maybe given me a little bit of an opportunity.

"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."

A more serious matter is, of course, this afternoon's result.

Despite Storm Erik, which blew into Edinburgh yesterday lunch-time, Seymour is expecting Ireland's kicking game to be back on song after last week's misfire against England.

"We know Ireland have a fantastic kicking game," he said. "Their half-backs are very skilled at putting the ball in the right areas and putting balls up to compete with or to put pressure on you behind. So certainly we'll go into this week knowing it's a tactic they can exploit very well."

Belfast Telegraph