Young guns and familiar faces - Seymour ready to return to rugby
“I’m an old guy in a very young squad!”
After 142 appearances and 47 tries to date in a Glasgow jersey, Tommy Seymour could easily refer to himself as one of the most experienced Warriors in the current squad. With a career that includes 20 tries for Scotland and touring with the 2017 British and Irish Lions, observers might refer to the winger as one of the most successful or established members of the playing group.
The man himself, though? He’s happy “just calling it like it is”.
“For old guys like myself, [the break] has actually been a nice change for the body,” laughs Seymour.
“We’ve had a bit more recovery time than we’d normally get. It’s obviously not been for the ideal reason, because we’re all missing rugby. In terms of the small silver linings you look for in a strange time like this, though, that’s probably one of them.”
Now coming to the end of his ninth season with the Warriors, it’s been a campaign unlike any other in the history of the club – and indeed the sport – for Seymour and his squad-mates. Yet the 32-year-old is excited by the prospect of returning to action, and in particular by the potential of a couple of the ‘young guns’ preparing to make their mark on the Warrior Nation.
“It’s a very different structure to anything the boys have ever really witnessed before, for sure,” admitted Seymour.
“It’ll hopefully be the longest anyone involved in rugby will ever have as a break away from the game.
“The squad is in a really good place, though, and the young guys in the back three are really exciting to work with. I’ve dealt with Rufus [McLean] and Ollie Smith when they were involved with us last year, and Ollie Melville’s come in to the academy this year. The age of them really brings it home about how much of an age gap there is between them and myself!
“They’ve come in and hit the ground running though – it’s really exciting to see them come in, they haven’t missed a beat so far. I’ve spoken to Rufus and Ollie [Smith] a bit over the last year or so, they’re both incredibly hard-working and humble and they haven’t shied away from anything.
“They’ve got a huge amount of talent and the future is definitely bright for this club with them in the ranks in the back three.”
It’ll also be a significantly different coaching team that sits in the coaching box for next week’s return to rugby, with only Kenny Murray remaining from the coaching team that started 2019/20. The changes, however, have reunited Seymour with a familiar face from earlier in his career, and one with whom he’s relishing the opportunity to unlock opposition defences.
“Jonny [Bell] was just starting his coaching career when I was involved at Ulster at the start of my pro career, so we worked together first at an academy level and then doing some 7s stuff,” he explained.
“We actually both travelled over to Cartha Queen’s Park for a 7s tournament under an Ulster badge back in the day, so we go back a fair bit!
“He’s a great individual to have around, and I’m really excited to have him on board – I knew the guys would take to him really well. He’s already brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the role, and having an individual I already have a rapport with is a really great benefit to have.
“The coaching group as a whole look like they’re gelling really well already. It’s obviously a difficult time for them as well, but everyone’s working really well under the new regime and they’re doing a great job.”
The first outing for the new regime sees the most familiar of foes provide the opposition a week on Saturday, as Danny Wilson leads his new squad to BT Murrayfield to take on Edinburgh.
It’s a prospect that excites not only Seymour, but everyone associated with Glasgow rugby as the countdown ticks ever closer to kick-off and the return of live rugby to Scottish soil.
“It’s really exciting to think that next week is game week,” said Seymour.
“We’ve got two huge fixtures to come back to – they don’t come much bigger than derby games. It’s a bit of normality too, both for us and for the fans cheering us on from their sofas.
“That’s what we’re all looking forward to, and we can’t wait to get out and play the guys from down the road next weekend.”