TOMMY SEYMOUR has backed his Glasgow Warriors team-mate and World Cup squad rival Kyle Steyn to push all the way for a seat on the plane to Japan in just under two-months’ time. The veteran winger believes that the new kid on the block’s calmness, physicality and reading of the game means he could be a key man at the tournament.
South Africa-born Steyn has had an amazing year, playing in the first four World Sevens Series events of the 2018-19 campaign for the Scotland Sevens team to take his overall cap tally up to six and then joining Glasgow Warriors as cover in February. He played regularly for the pro team in the final few months of the campaign, scoring a brilliant try in the Guinness PRO14 semi-final play-off triumph over Ulster. And now the 25-year-old centre/winger is close to a full Scotland cap with Seymour right behind the man who qualifies to play for Scotland through his Bearsden-born mother.
“He’s acquitted himself well in training so far, he’s a great guy to have around the place and has fitted in seamlessly,” said Seymour. “Having played with him at Glasgow, I know what he brings. He’s really talented, very calm on the field, he’s got a good head and doesn’t get flustered. He brings a lot in defence and in attack in terms of physicality and his reading of the game.
“Kyle’s done what I thought he’d do [in the Scotland camp]: trained really well, fitted in and is always asking questions.”
Scotland’s extended squad of 44 players returned to training this week after a fortnight break and 31-year-old Seymour is fresh and raring to go.
“It was great to get a couple of weeks off after the first block of training which was very tough,” he said. “It was lovely to get my head out of rugby for a little bit. You watch yourself a little bit [in terms of nutrition and fitness during the time off] because you don’t want to undo the work you’ve just put in.
“We knew we were coming back in on Monday and that we’d be tested at the start and after the progression of the first three weeks the coaches would be expecting to see good results, so you always keep everything ticking over, but it is important to kind of get away and really take yourself out of rugby for a bit.
“I went in and did a couple of short sessions with the Glasgow boys [during the time off], just to see some faces and that was that, the rest of the time was spent just trying to relax and get right before getting back to it.
Records are there to be broken
Meanwhile, Seymour admits he would love to break the Scotland try scoring record at the World Cup later this year, but at the minute he is solely focused on making sure of his place in the squad that flies to Asia.
Seymour has 19 tries from 50 appearances for his country to date and is alongside Stuart Hogg just five short of the record for Scotland held by Ian Smith and Tony Stanger with 24 each.
Seymour, the Warriors man, could get over the 20 mark and nearer to the holy grail of 25 during the warm-up Tests in August and early September, but with Hogg, Sean Maitland, Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Byron McGuigan and Steyn all alongside him competing for places in the back three Seymour is purely thinking about making the World Cup squad currently.
“I wouldn’t say I focus on it [the try record], but it’d be really nice to have,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve never thought about it and of course it’s something you could only have dreamed of doing when you were young so I’d love to push for it.
“For me right now the focus really has to be in putting in training performances that put me in the right spot with the coaches and to make sure I selected for the warm-up games.
“The competition is incredibly fierce in the back three. We’re pushing each other really well and luckily there’s a great collective mindset to do that.
“If I find myself on the park in Japan I’d obviously love to be scoring tries.”