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30 Minutes with… Glasgow, Scotland and Lions wing Tommy Seymour

Ready to roar: Tommy Seymour warms up during Lions training. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

Scotland wing Tommy Seymour talks phobias, flying and fluffed kicks


Who are the jokers at Glasgow?

Ryan Wilson is up there. He’s always keen for a laugh. I find Jon Welsh incredibly entertaining too. He’s at Newcastle now but is around the Scotland camp and makes me laugh.

Any practical jokes you can share?

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Stuart Hogg is easy to scare so a lot of the time it’s trying to scare him. John Barclay put videos on Twitter during the Six Nations of him scaring Hoggy – they were good. Hoggy tries to get people back but no one reacts like him.

What are your nicknames?

‘Stern’ has been kicking around since my time at Ulster. It started from a vicious rumour that I’m grumpy! I’m fortunate it’s not used too much.

What’s the harshest nickname?

Duncan Weir gets called ‘Boggy’ because his head/hair looks like a toilet brush.

Great hands: Leone Nakarawa shows his skills for Fiji at the 2016 Olympics. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

I’m not going to say a prop because I’ve never looked at a maul session and thought, ‘I’d like to see what that’s like’. Maybe a scrum-half or fly-half as their decision-making is so quick. Niko Matawalu – I’d love to be able to do the things he does; he’s one of a kind. Leone Nakarawa isn’t a traditional second-row either. Both of them are able to do things with the ball that not a lot of people can.

Do you have any phobias?

I’ve got a real phobia of chickens. It comes from a childhood trauma. My aunt had chickens and one had a crooked spine so its head was almost upside down. When it was my turn to feed them I heard this noise that still haunts me and that chicken ran towards me. I ran into the shed and stayed there for an hour with the chicken pecking at the door until my brother found me. It’s called alektorophobia.

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What annoys you?

I don’t like mess. I find it hard to relax and switch off if things are untidy at home.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

In my first year at Glasgow, we played Bath and Nick Abendanon put up a high ball. He fluffed it but those are harder to catch, so this dead duck thing was coming towards me and I dived forward to catch it, but I ended up face planting into the ground and the ball landed a few metres behind me.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Michael Jordan. He was my idol growing up – I was born in the States and was into basketball. He conquered the sport and I’d be really interested to hear his stories.

Basketball great: Michael Jordan shoots for Chicago Bulls in 1997. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

It has to be to fly. Teleporting would be good, you’d get somewhere instantaneously, but flying you’d get somewhere quickly and enjoy it while it’s happening.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I do enjoy playing PlayStation. It’s a great way to switch off. The best game I’ve played is The Last of Us – a single-player game on PS4 – and Tom Clancy’s The Division is one we all play together.

Who’s the best gamer?

Josh Strauss. He’s a lot different to what people think – he loves punk and PlayStation. We roomed together at the World Cup in Newcastle and we had two TVs, one at each end of the room, and we’d play video games.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can talk like Smeagol/Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I can do a back flip too. But it’s never going to be a try celebration – I’ve not done one for two years and am likely to have a back spasm!

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

It sounds corny but to have a happy family. I was born in America so it was hard to see my grandparents. I’d love to have a few children with Katy and for them to see our families a lot.

This article first appeared in the June 2017 issue of Rugby World.

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