Tommy Seymour extends Glasgow Warriors contract and hails ‘amazing depth’ in squad

Huw Jones next in line to announce he is extending his stay at Scotstoun

Tommy Seymour
Tommy Seymour in action for Glasgow Warriors against Lyon. Image: © Craig Watson.

TOMMY Seymour is convinced that Glasgow Warriors can continue to fight on two fronts this season, and has revealed that the team’s commitment to attacking play was a major reason in his decision to agree a one-year contract extension with the club.

The 30-year-old Scotland and Lions winger, who has been with Glasgow since joining from Ulster in 2011, said he had had offers to move elsewhere at the end of this summer. But his happiness with how things are going on the pitch plus his family’s contentment with the city was enough to ensure that he did not give too much thought to leaving.

“At my age there’s gonna be a multitude of things to think about, but I can’t pay Glasgow a higher compliment when you consider a larger array of things at my age that Glasgow still comes out on top,” Seymour said. “I love this club. Never did I think that it would be possible to be here as long as I have been. I’m incredibly fortunate and it’s an honour that they still want me around.

Lyon v Glasgow Warriors: five-try triumph in France for Dave Rennie’s men

Scotland Under-19s caught out by ferocious Welsh fightback

Tennent’s Premiership Leaderboard – after round 13

“I could compliment Glasgow in a whole host of ways, but the fact my family is so happy here is important, and I’ve made lifelong friends here as well. Some of them have left and some are still very much part of the club. I’m delighted to say I’ll be here for the next wee while at least.”

Asked if other options had been on the table, he replied: “None that were tempting enough to prise me away from here. That’s the main thing. Glasgow has become my home in far more ways than one. I’m delighted to be here for the future.”

Seymour will be nearly 32 by the time this new contract extension expires, and if he maintains anything like his present form he is sure to attract renewed interest. For the time being, however, there is unfinished business to keep him occupied.

High expectations

When the Warriors reached the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup two seasons ago, they failed to qualify for the play-offs in what was then the PRO12. When they won the PRO12 back in 2015, they did not get out of the pool stages in Europe. This season, by contrast, they are not only top of their PRO14 conference, but are also in pole position to reach the last eight in Europe after an inspired 42-22 bonus-point win in Lyon – and Seymour is sure they can keep up the fight on both fronts.

“I have full confidence that we can do it. We didn’t do ourselves justice in the year we qualified in Europe, but I don’t think it’s a pick-and-choose scenario. The squad is in a great position now, with an amazing amount of depth. The past month is testament to that and how well the young guys who have come in have done.

“That’s something that started with Gregor [Townsend] in terms of the rotation, making sure the young guys felt they could slip in seamlessly and give us results. We’ve carried that on and I think, without getting ahead of ourselves, that we can definitely perform in both tournaments.

“Looking around Europe it’s hard to find a side that’s more willing to play with ball in hand, as expansively, or plays with the tempo that we do. Being a winger it’s something you can’t help but look at and let it help your decision. Not only are we playing the right brand of rugby, we have the players to do it. Credit to all my team-mates and everyone else for making Glasgow stand out for the rugby we play.

“We’ve got a really exciting brand of rugby and some great inside backs who can allow guys like me some some space. It’s an exciting place to play, especially at Scotstoun when the supporters are in full voice. There’s no better feeling for me.”

One vital difference this season, according to the winger, is the fact that head coach Dave Rennie had a full pre-season with the squad this summer. Rennie’s contract with the Chiefs back in his native New Zealand meant that he did not arrive at Scotstoun to take up his post as Townsend’s successor until season 2017-18 had begun.

Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 12)

“There are always going to be teething issues with a new coach coming in and trying to impart everything he wants as a club as well as playing style in one year. The fact that he and the whole coaching staff were here for pre-season as well was helpful. Everyone can see that the extra time we’ve had together has transformed things on the field. I think we’re in a really good place and are showing a lot of the characteristics that the extra time has allowed us.

“Dave is happy. From a players’ perspective we’re starting to do the right things on the field and I hope we can keep that up.”

Jones next to commit?

Speaking after training at Scotstoun on Monday, Warriors assistant coach Mike Blair was effusive in his praise of the Nashville-born winger. I mean, you just have to watch the game from Saturday,” he said. “A couple of little bits of skills down the right flank. You wouldn’t pick many people in Europe that can do that – the chip and regather, one of the offloads back on the inside. He’s a really consistent player, someone who can do the exciting stuff, the clever stuff, but also the basics of the game. Chasing kicks, winning balls back and defusing the kicking game as well – they’re the stand-outs in his game.”

With Seymour’s future now clarified, the Warriors are due to announce shortly that Huw Jones will also be staying at Scotstoun. The Scotland centre was thought to be close to deciding to move to Leicester Tigers, but it is understood that he has now agreed a deal worth around £240,000 a year to remain part of the Warriors squad.

Jones, who will celebrate his 25th birthday next Monday, wanted to show loyalty to Scotland by agreeing to extend his stay in the country, according to a club source. Another factor was the belief that Scottish Rugby’s player-welfare system gives him a better chance of being selected for the next Lions squad than he would have if he were playing in England.

Choose your favourite game of 2018 – and argue the case for it in our Poll of the Year


About Stuart Bathgate 1414 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.