Tuesday 19 November 2019

Scotland are not suffering from mental fragility - Glasgow winger Tommy Seymour

Tommy Seymour of Scotland is tackled by Mike Brown of England during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham
Tommy Seymour of Scotland is tackled by Mike Brown of England during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham

Andy Newport

Tommy Seymour insists the cracks in Scotland's creaking defence have not been caused by mental weakness.

The Glasgow wing angrily shot down the suggestion that psychological frailties had been the reason for the Scots' wretched RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Vern Cotter's team strode purposefully into this year's championships on the back of three encouraging displays against Argentina, New Zealand and Tonga in November.

Some pundits even tipped the the Dark Blues as dark horses for the title.

But the same old self-inflicted gaffes that have cost them dear, with Ireland now preparing to complete a miserable run by handing the Celtic neighbours their fifth straight defeat in Edinburgh this Saturday.

Seymour knows his side have let themselves down - but he insist their problems do not start in the mind.

He said: "No - 100 per cent not. I would almost take offence to the notion of that.

"Listen, I can understand the questions that are asked because people obviously look at the performances and think there is a button here that needs to be pressed.

"But there is definitely not a mental fragility."

The Scots kicked-off their campaign in Paris but despite notching the only try, they allowed France to kick their way to a 15-8 win following a string of penalties.

Wales then took control of their second match at Murrayfield after stand-off Finn Russell was sin-binned when his "reckless" tackle left jumping Dragons fly-half Dan Biggar in a heap

There was more misery in store as Italy's rolling maul steamrollered the Azzurri to a last-gasp win in the capital, while Scotland sparkled briefly at Twickenham on Saturday before the Auld Enemy fired back into a three-way shoot-out for the title by adding 15 unanswered points in the second half.

"We need to stop being the creators of our own downfall at times," added Seymour. "But there is certainly no fragility on a mental aspect with any of the players I go out and play with.

"We know exactly what we can do. We are fully confident in that. There needs to be an ability within all of us that we can do these things for 80 minutes.

"But we are definitely not in a position where we are doubting our abilities."

Ireland will now go in search of the win which will see them pip England and Wales to the Six Nations title this weekend.

That leaves the Scots facing the ominous prospect that if they cannot repel Joe Schmidt's side, they will end this year's Northern Hemisphere joust with a five-game whitewash for the third time since 2004.

In that case, it would leave Cotter open to the charge his first campaign had been a failure - but Seymour insists that assessment is too simplistic.

He said: "It's probably too easy (to describe this campaign as a failure) I think.

"Let's not beat about the bush, we have not won a game yet. A tournament is going to be defined for the mass part for a lot of people based on the back of wins or losses.

"Now in that case, you can say 'Well we can write this one off - it's not been what we want. It's been a failure'.

"However, with this squad it has to be a learning process. It has to be the idea that we are building something that goes beyond five or six weeks.

"It started in the autumn and is building up to the World Cup - that has to be the mindset.

"There has been a lot of disappointment in the results from this tournament. However, the elements that have shown improvement can only mean that we have to progress from this.

"We have shown the flaws that we need to fix in order to go on.

"So in terms of fixtures, it's been disappointing but it's not been a failure in terms of the growth of the squad. If we learn from the mistakes and swallow the big pills we have had to take, then we can come off the back of it stronger."

PA Media

The Left Wing: Champions Cup preview, the World Cup hangover and Joe Schmidt's next team

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport